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Monday
Jan022012

Dead Blackbirds Fall From Sky Again in Arkansas on New Year's Eve

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEEBE, Ark.) -- Dozens of dead blackbirds have fallen from the sky over a small Arkansas town for the second year in a row.

The fact that the town of Beebe has seen this before, however, doesn't make the deaths of dozens of birds any less odd.

ABC Arkansas affiliate KATV reported that a radar image showed a large mass over Beebe a few hours before midnight Saturday. Then the birds began falling from the sky, just like in 2010.

Emily Nichols, a police dispatcher in Beebe, told ABC Radio that she received multiple calls regarding the birds.

Animal Care and Control was called out about 7 p.m., a few hours earlier than last year, Horace Taylor of Animal Care and Control in Beebe told ABC Radio. 

Taylor said that the Game and Fish Department took about 30 of the nearly 100 birds for testing to try to determine the cause of death.

Fireworks were blamed for the deaths of thousands of blackbirds in 2010, but it's unclear whether fireworks were the cause this time. Police imposed an impromptu ban on fireworks when the birds began falling this year.

Lt. Brian Duke of the Beebe Police Department told ABC that this year wasn't nearly as bad as last year, when the birds covered the streets of Beebe. This year, they were concentrated in a smaller area and the birds were cleaned up quickly. There haven't been any reports of people being hit by a falling bird.

Biologists said last year's kill was caused by birds that were spooked off their roosts by the loud explosions of fireworks and began flying into homes, cars, telephone poles and each other.

Around this same time last year, thousands of dead fish also turned up in the Arkansas River, prompting conspiracies about the end of the world, poison and environmental catastrophe.

Taylor and Duke both agree, though: it's probably just the fireworks in Beebe.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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