When thousands of red-winged blackbirds fell from the sky on New Year’s Eve in Beebe, Arkansas, it seemed like God was angry at the Natural State, especially considering the additional 100,000 dead fish in a nearby river. “I’m not drunk and I’m not on drugs,” said one local when he called the police department. “She said, ‘Oh, you’re calling about the birds.'” A handful of the fallen creatures were taken in for testing, but officials are now saying that loud noises, probably from fireworks, scared the birds, causing them to slam into trees or houses and that the weather had nothing to do with it. Extraterrestrials are still suspected.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
A witness reported that the birds, which roost in the area in large numbers and don’t see well at night, were scared by the noise and slammed into houses and trees, said Arkansas State Veterinarian George Badley. A study of several carcasses showed the birds died of internal bleeding.
“We’re still checking for germs and poisons, but we believe it was just trauma,” said Dr. Badley.
The total dead is somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000, but that’s not counting the 500 red-winged blackbirds found in Louisiana, in what CNN calls a “seemingly separate incident.” And in other news, ABC’s V, which is a show about alien lizard people, returns to television tonight, so maybe this is just all a viral marketing stunt in the South.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 4, 2011