Bird is the word

3 01 2011

Actually, “weird” is the word. Did you hear the story over the weekend about the thousands of blackbirds found dead in a 1 mile area in a small town in Arkansas? When the story first broke over the weekend, reports said more than 1,000 birds had fallen from the sky. Now they are saying more than 5,000 birds were affected, and not all of them were killed. For some reason, in Beebe, Arkansas, more than 5,000 red-winged blackbirds and starlings were found in a 1 mile area. The birds fell from the sky shortly before Midnight on New Year’s Eve. One ornithologist quoted by CNN.com says such incidents are not that rare and are often caused by lightning or high-altitude hail. Officials also guessed that a large fireworks display could have startled the birds, causing severe stress. One official on the scene said initial examinations revealed the birds showed signs of trauma, but it was unclear if that trauma was caused by hitting the ground or if something in the air caused the trauma. The dead birds have been sent to labs at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission and the National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin for testing.

As if that were not strange enough, another bizarre tragedy involving wildlife was also discovered in Arkansas over the weekend. Along a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Ozark, Arkansas, officials found more than 100,000 drum fish dead. A tugboat operator discovered the dead fish Thursday night. One official with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said such kills occur every year but the size of this one is unusual. They suspect disease, not a pollutant, because only one species of fish appeared to be affected.

The two incidents occured about 125 miles apart. The proximity, combined with the fact both incidents involve wildlife being killed, certainly have to make you wonder if the two aren’t related in some way. It’s not inconceivable that some incident or toxin or who knows what caused both incidents. The conspiracy nut in me is more than willing to believe that something happened and the government is scrambling now to cover it up. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time, would it? Of course, it’s also possible that the explanations being given by officials and experts actually are correct. I actually hope they are. I’d much rather believe that the birds just were scared to death and the fish caught a disease. The alternative is too frightening.

So what do you think?

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