PORTLAND, Ore. (CBS Seattle/AP) – A federal forensics laboratory will examine the carcasses of birds believed to have been poisoned last week in Portland, Oregon, parks.

Gary Young, an investigator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says that if they were poisoned and it was intentional, the act could be prosecuted under federal law. Such prosecutions are rare.

“If it’s something we believed was an intentional act, we would investigate it as a criminal violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918,” Young told the Oregonian.  “We would do fact-finding and would present our finding to the U.s. Attorney’s Office to decide if the case is actively prosecuted or not.”

Bob Sallinger of the Audubon Society of Portland says corn was found in the stomachs of the birds, leading him to believe they were poisoned. Witnesses said they were having seizures.

“That’s based on the fact the birds appeared very healthy right before they died, the fact that they were seizing, the fact that they died at the same time and the fact that they had similar stomach contents,” Sallinger told the Oregonian.

The Oregonian reports that the bodies of 30 to 40 crows and one gull were recovered Wednesday from downtown parks, along with several more from other parts of the city.

Young says the carcasses will be sent to a lab in Ashland, in southern Oregon.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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