Mass Bird and Fish Deaths Stoke Global Curiosity

WASHINGTON

Five thousand dead blackbirds rained from the sky on the first day of the New Year in Arkansas. Then more dead birds fell in other states. Then huge fish kills were discovered in multiple US waterways.

And suddenly it became a worldwide phenomenon, with reports off mass die-offs of birds and fish in Sweden, Britain, Japan, Thailand, Brazil and beyond.

Doves, jellyfish, snapper, jackdaws… it seemed no species was immune.

Conspiracy theorists, doomsdayers and religious extremists warned that the end was nigh.

Could it be astronauts testing a potent sound beam to ward off aliens? The US military experimenting with satellite-powered energy weapons?

What about chemical sprays, meteor showers, or earthquakes activating pollutants from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

“Birds” surged to the most searched term on The New York Times website.

Religious bloggers loaded their sites with Bible verse, Hosea 4:1-3: “The land dries up, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea are swept away.”

But as speculation roiled the blogosphere, wildlife experts rolled their eyes.

“It is not that unusual,” said Kristen Schuler, scientist at the US Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Center.

“There is nothing apocalyptic or anything that is necessarily out of the ordinary for what we would see in any given week.”

Regarding the bird deaths in Arkansas, where the local custom is to set off fireworks to mark New Year’s Eve, officials determined it was likely that the noise set off a deadly bird panic.

“It appears unusually loud noises, reported shortly before the birds began to fall, caused the birds to flush from a roost,” the USGS National Wildlife Health Center said in a statement posted on the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission website.

“Additional fireworks in the area may have forced the birds to fly at a lower altitude than normal and hit houses, vehicles, trees and other objects. Blackbirds have poor night vision and typically do not fly at night.”

In Louisiana, Schuler said it looked like cold weather might have killed off about 500 birds.

Meanwhile in Maryland, locals were spooked by reports of some two million dead fish in the Chesapeake Bay.

But officials were quick to assuage those concerns, saying the deaths were a result of an unusual cold snap, combined with an overpopulation of a species known as spot fish.

“Natural causes appear to be the reason for the deaths of the fish,” said a statement by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

“Spot may have difficulty surviving in colder temperatures, and the species’ susceptibility to winter kills is well-documented,” it said, noting that surface water temperatures last month were the coldest in 25 years.

As for the bird and fish deaths elsewhere in the world, many were still under investigation.

According to the National Wildlife Federation’s Doug Inkley, the most frequent cause of mass death in birds is disease, though pollution and “just plain accidents” can also trigger large scale die-offs. Often, people just are not aware of them.

“Most of the time these areas are not near human habitation such as in forests or in the woods,” he said on CNN.

But in today’s internet Age, when hardly anything remains secret, word of unusual bird deaths has spread with unparalleled speed.

“In 1960 if a bunch of birds started falling from the sky it may have been noticed by some people. It may have gotten reported in the local paper, but it may never have gotten any further than that,” said Robert Thompson, professor of pop culture at Syracuse University.

“Now some of these kinds of stories, because they get out there on the Internet, if they are compelling enough they can immediately make this jump to national news,” he said.

“Let’s face it, big quantities of birds falling from the sky or fish going belly up is a pretty compelling story.”

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8 Responses to “Mass Bird and Fish Deaths Stoke Global Curiosity”

  1. Tweets that mention Mass Bird and Fish Deaths Stoke Global Curiosity -- Topsy.com Says:

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  2. chris carney Says:

    If you believe for a minute that atleast the Arkansas bird deaths were the cause of a storm that was WAY east before the birds even died or fireworks( which should be self explanitory but ill explain anyway. Beebe, Arkansas does not have a large pyrotechnics display and if it was fireworks then large amounts of birds would drop dead in every town, every city, in every state.) then your a complete and total moron. It is true that mass deaths happen all the time, but all at once i hardly think so. End of the world? doubt it. Government testing? not likely Weather? possibly but not the way they are exploiting it. Fireworks? hell no. Something really bad? definatly. What you dont see is that in recent years millions of snakes and spiders migrated out of this arkansas region, which also sets in the new madrid fault line. Record recalls that animals began to die before its last rupture. If we start to see deaths in tennessee, illinois, indiana, missouri, and other states in that area…theres going to be some fireworks thats for sure. It wont end the world but it will sure turn it upside down for a moment.

  3. smitty Says:

    funny how it’s reported that the dead fish were caused by cold water in kentucky and arkansas…yeah right! sc is just recently added to the list of states with dead fish washing up with water temp no where near a temp that would kill fish…

  4. nani Says:

    the science bs that they are throwing at the world is not getting to me at all. i caint stand when they try to make logic out of something like this. its obviouse that what the BIBLE is sayin is true, so if u not with it, then get with it seek knowledge in the lords word and get ready cuz its just the beging. dont be scared ,get prepared.

  5. steve Says:

    global/bird flu
    thailand/cat flu
    australia/ equine flu (horse)
    usa/bee flu
    the goverments didnt tell that this was happening at the same time.

  6. G.Johnson Says:

    Some dramatic change starting to occur/happen to the earth?

    A lead up to 2012 prophesy?

    A safe bet is that a number of world governments-with their extensive resources-know more about this than they will say.

  7. telson Says:

    Between 2010 December and January 2011 has been occurred all over the world mass deaths of birds, fishes and other animals. Into question is large worldwide mass deaths of animals, and this means that they are not merely natural deaths. My intention is drawing attention to possible explanations for mass deaths of animals.

    More info:

    http://koti.phnet.fi/petripaavola/massdeathsofanimals.html

  8. Tomadams Says:

    Amazing how they play everything down…Cold water killed the fish in cheasapeake bay, Fireworks killed the birds. There have been cold spells in that region before. Fireworks killed the birds ???
    Um…Funny how fireworks have been around for a long time and only now are they doing damage.

    Methane gas is leaking into the ocean and it’s killing fish and sea life. I have no explaination for the birds and cattle. But this is SERIOUS. WE CAN’T PLAY THIS DOWN.

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