THE BIRDS?

Not again! Thousands of birds fall dead in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve

Similar mass death occurred on New Year’s Eve in 2010; experts believe fireworks scared birds, caused panic

BY Michael Sheridan
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, January 1 2012, 2:49 PM

Warren Watkins/AP

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday more than 1,000 dead black birds fell from the sky in Beebe.

Thousands of blackbirds dropped dead on New Year’s Eve in Arkansas in an incident eerily similar to one that occurred at the same time a year ago.

The disturbing deaths in Beebe, a city northwest of Little Rock, were sparked after loud fireworks sent flocks of the small birds into a panic, scientists said. This caused them to collide with each other, as well as power lines, houses and cars.

Officer John Weeks said the first reports of “birds on the streets” came around 7 p.m. as residents celebrated the year’s end with fireworks in their neighborhoods, The Associated Press reported.

Police worked with animal control workers to locate and clean up the bird bodies.

On New Year’s Eve 2010, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 birds died from “blunt trauma” after they were similarly spooked by fireworks.

Eyewitnesses told authorities “the birds were hitting mailboxes, cars, basketball goals, houses, trees,” Keith Stephens of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission told the Daily News last January. “The trauma shows that they were in flight when they collided with something that killed them.”

The bird deaths, which were followed only days later by hundreds of more bird deaths in Louisiana, sparked conspiracy theories ranging from the Biblical end of the world to government coverups.

With News Wire Services

msheridan@nydailynews.com; or follow him at Twitter.com/NYDNSheridan

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/thousands-birds-fall-dead-arkansas-year-eve-article-1.999476#ixzz1iF6yBiHy

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