Blackbirds dead, not singing, in the night | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blackbirds dead, not singing, in the night

Posted By on Sat, Jan 1, 2011 at 2:51 PM

The state Game and Fish Commission reports more than a thousand blackbirds fell dead from the sky over Beebe on New Year's Eve. Theories include high-altitude hail, lightning or stress from being startled from roosts by fireworks,

"... into the light of a dark, black night."

GAME AND FISH COMMISSION NEWS RELEASE

Last night, ringing in the New Year took on a whole different meaning for the citizens of Beebe. Beginning at around 11:30 p.m., enforcement officers with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began getting reports of dead black birds falling from the sky in the city limits of Beebe.

Officers estimated that over 1,000 birds had fallen out of the sky over the city before midnight. Most of the birds were dead, but some were still alive when officers arrived. The blackbirds fell over a one-mile area in the city. AGFC wildlife officer Robby King responded to the reports and found hundreds of birds. “Shortly after I arrived there were still birds falling from the sky,” King said. King collected about 65 dead birds that will be sent to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis.

The AGFC has flown over the area to gauge the scope of the event. There were no other birds found outside of the initial area.

AGFC ornithologist Karen Rowe said that strange events similar to this one have occurred a number of times across the globe. “Test results usually were inconclusive, but the birds showed physical trauma and that the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail,” Rowe said.

Another scenario may have been that New Year’s Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area may have startled the birds from their roost. The birds may have died from stress.

Rowe said that it didn’t appear as though the birds died of any poisoning or other event. “Since it only involved a flock of blackbirds and only involved them falling out of the sky it is unlikely they were poisoned, but a necropsy is the only way to determine if the birds died from trauma or toxin,” she said. Testing will begin on Monday.

The City of Beebe has hired U.S. Environmental Services to begin the cleanup and dispose of the dead birds. The environmental firm will go door-to-door to pick up the birds that are still in yards and on roof tops.

Tags: , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (30)

Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

    John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Greenbrier's paddling of student protester goes worldwide

    The paddling of Greenbrier High School students who joined in te national school walkout Wednesday has produced headlines worldwide.
    • Mar 17, 2018
  • Donald Trump declares war on Hillary Clinton's marriage

    Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to the New York Times yesterday in which he declared open season on the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's past infidelity. Seems like a loser, but I've been wrong before.
    • Oct 1, 2016

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Don't eat romaine lettuce open line

    • I don't have time right now to fully engage this, and I hate to take…

    • on April 22, 2018
  • Re: Orthopedic surgeon sentenced

    • Hmmm..."John Doe"? REALLY?? Your comments seem like hearsay with no proof. I feel you yourself…

    • on April 22, 2018
  • Re: Orthopedic surgeon sentenced

    • I feel your comment is all hearsay and not based on proven facts. I feel…

    • on April 22, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation