Entries in Dead Birds (6)


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


Thousands of Migrating Birds Crash Land in Utah

Lynn Chamberlain/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Thousands of birds migrating to the Gulf of Mexico crashed throughout Southern Utah Monday night, resulting in a massive rescue effort that has continued for days.

“I’ve been working at Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for 25 years now, and we’ve had more birds come down yesterday than I’ve ever seen before,” Lynn Chamberlain, the Conservation Outreach Manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Southern Region, said on Wednesday.  “Over the period of my career I’ve seen this happen three or four times but never to this scale.”

The first reports of the crash came from a Walmart in St. George, Utah, on Monday around 11:30 p.m.  The birds, called Eared Grebe, were migrating south to spend the winter in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials say the birds were found everywhere from 30 miles south to 10 miles north of Cedar City.

Chamberlain says a combination of cloud cover, lights from the city and the snow on the ground can confuse the birds, causing them to crash land.

“They seem to come down in areas with lots of light,” he said.  “You’ve got the cloud cover, the lights of the city coming up, the snow on the ground, everything smoothes it out and it looks like a lake to them.”

According to Chamberlain, around 2,500 to 3,000 birds were rescued on Tuesday.

“That’s just the survivors,” said Chamberlain.  “You know what, it’s impossible to tell because it happened over such a large area.  There are thousands.”

All of Monday night and Tuesday, rescuers spent time picking up birds to be rescued. The birds with substantial injuries were taken to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, while those with small injuries were taken to an open body of water to be released.

“They depend on water for the ability to fly and for food,” said Chamberlain. “They physically can’t take off on the ground.  They have to be on water, and we spent the entire night yesterday gathering up birds that were down and took them to an open body of water.”

People who continue to find birds should drop them off at Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Southern Division at 1470 N Airport Rd, Cedar City, Utah.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Blunt-Force Trauma Caused Birds to Fall from Sky

Photo Courtesy - KATV Little Rock, Ark.(BEEBE, Ark.) -- Blunt-force trauma is to blame for causing thousands of red-winged blackbirds to fall from the sky in Arkansas on New Year's Eve, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

After testing 13 of the birds, scientists were able to rule out "bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, pesticides and avicides (chemicals used to kill birds) as causes of death," the commission said on their website.  Tests instead indicated hemorrhaging "consistent with blunt trauma."

"In most instances, such traumatic injuries in wild birds are due to flying into stationary objects such as trees, houses, windows, power lines, towers, et cetera," the report said.

According to officials, an estimated 5,000 birds plunged to their death on Dec. 31.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bird Death Mystery: More Dying Birds Fall From Louisiana Sky

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) -- The mystery of the dying birds deepened for baffled experts after another 500 birds were found littering a Louisiana highway days after 5,000 red-winged blackbirds plunged to their death in Arkansas on New Year's Eve.

Just 300 miles away from Beebe, Arkansas, where thousands of dying birds fell from the sky this past weekend, Louisiana officials revealed that hundreds of birds were found dead Monday.

"We have blackbirds, starlings, sparrows.  Several species of birds are affected," said Dr. Jim Lacour, Louisiana's state wildlife veterinarian.

The birds were found in the Labarre community, 30 miles from Baton Rouge.  Officials say that the two incidents are pure coincidence and unrelated to one another.

Louisiana officials believe the birds fell to their death either late Sunday or early Monday after flying into a power line.  The birds sustained injuries from broken beaks to broken backs.  What prompted the birds to fly into the power line, however, is still a mystery.

The bigger mystery remains the mass death of 5,000 redwing blackbirds in Beebe.  Newly-released 911 calls reveal the initial confusion people felt at the site of birds littering their roads, yards and roofs.

"They are like bleeding out of the mouth and some of them are not dead.  I think they have been poisoned," one Arkansas caller said.

Another caller asked, "I was wondering why all the birds, are just like, dying?"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tests Underway to Determine Why Birds, Fish Died in Arkansas

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(BEEBE, Ark.) -- Trauma as a result of thunder and lightning is being blamed for the death of thousands of blackbirds that rained down out of the Arkansas sky and over the city of Beebe on New Year's Eve.

"There were multiple thunderstorms that night and for several days that week," said Dr. George Badley, state veterinarian for the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.  "Red-winged blackbirds fly in large groups and if they got pulled into a thunderstorm, likely lightning struck them.  That would be my best guess."

Officials sent some of the carcasses of the red-winged blackbirds to Badley's Arkansas laboratory.  The rest of the birds to be tested were sent to laboratories in Georgia and Wisconsin.

"Almost every one of them ... had multiple internal hemorrhages which would mean that it was trauma, not a disease process.  Their stomachs were empty, which would rule out toxicity from eating some kind of poison grain," Badley said.

According to preliminary testing released late Monday, the trauma was primarily in breast tissue, with blood clots in the body cavity and internal bleeding.  All major organs were normal and the birds appeared to be healthy, the tests found.  Blood and culture tests on the birds are still pending.

Officials from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said that at least 2,000 carcasses of the birds were collected by the U.S. Environmental Services on Saturday and Sunday, but they believe that up to 5,000 birds actually tumbled from the sky.

Along with the birds, tens of thousands of drum fish were also found dead in the state.  The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Monday that 83,000 drum fish died in the kill.

Just 125 miles from Beebe, dead drum fish began floating along a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near the town of Ozark last week.  Officials from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said the fish kill and blackbird deaths are unrelated.

Some of the fish are being sent to Dr. Andrew Goodwin to be tested at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Aquaculture and Fisheries Department.  Goodwin said that fish kills are fairly common.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hundreds of Dead Birds Fall From Arkansas Sky

Photo Courtesy - KATV Little Rock, Ark.(BEEBE, Ark.) -- Officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to fall from the sky across a one mile area in Beebe, Arkansas.

The dead birds began falling New Year’s Eve and littered the streets, along with residential lawns and rooftops. Steven Bryant found 40 birds strewn across his front lawn and won’t let his kids play outside until he knows more about what caused it.

“I wouldn’t let them go outside right now until I really know exactly what the explanation is,” he said. “I’m not going to take no chances.”

Tests are ongoing but wildlife officials believe the birds may have been hit by lightning or hail, or were startled by fireworks. One city official said, “I thought the mayor was messing with me when he called…He got me up at 4 o’clock in the morning and told me he had birds falling out of the sky.”

State wildlife officials are also investigating what killed possibly hundreds of thousands of drum fish in the Arkansas River.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio