ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A mysterious bird kill, a new hunting law, the start of a spring fishing run, and a giant fish make up this week’s Outdoors Bound report.

Mystery Solved?

There may finally be an answer to the questions surrounding a massive bird kill in Radford. That is where 80 American Robins were found dead recently. Two birds survived and are being nursed back to health by the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke.

The center tested those birds for avian flu and results came back negative. Environmental factors were also ruled out. Now, center officials say the likely cause of that bird kill is alcohol poisoning. The center posted that on its Facebook page. Center administrators theorize the robins ate wild berries that had fermented and overdosed on alcohol. More testing needs to be done to confirm that theory.

Sunday Hunting

The Virginia legislature has approved Sunday hunting on public lands. The bill now awaits Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s signature to be signed into law.

If the governor approves the measure it would go into effect July 1. That means the new Sunday hunting provision would not apply to the spring turkey season which starts next month.

The ‘Eyes Have It

An early spring New River walleye

Spring walleye runs are just starting on the New and Staunton Rivers as those fish move into place to spawn. A lot of anglers take advantage of those walleye concentrations, as do crews from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR). Those DWR crews are harvesting eggs and milt to replenish the state’s hatchery broodstock. Those fish raised in the hatchery are then stocked back into Virginia waters. Virginia has one of the best walleye fisheries on the east coast and that stocking effort is a major reason why.

Big Ol’ Fish!

Wes Billings holds up a trophy New River walleye

A 10.5 pound, 30-inch long walleye was recently caught from the New River. That is a true trophy and further proof of the New’s reputation for putting out big walleyes. The fish was caught by DWR Conservation Officer Wes Billings who is a veteran of the New and fishes it extensively. He released the fish for someone else to catch.