This year, on the New Year's Eve, local populations hailing from Arkansas and Kentucky witnessed thousands of dead red-winged blackbirds birds falling from the sky. More than 500 dead or dying birds fell onto a Louisiana and Alabama highway. Dead bird found on Louisiana Highway has been identified as red-winged blackbirds. It is one of the most common species found in the United States, with a total population over 200 million. According to Greg Butcher, Director of Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society in Washington, D.C., the incidents of dead birds falling from the sky are not due to some apocalyptic plague or dreadful experiments. Senior ornithologist Greg Butcher also told that each year more than twenty billion birds die annually as a result of natural causes. Forensic tests conducted were carried on the dead birds by the National Wildlife health facility in Madison, Wisconsin. Test results revealed that the birds suffered from acute physical trauma and died in mid-air due to internal hemorrhage. There were clear signs of blood clotting and bleeding in their breast tissue and body cavities. Dead birds falling from the sky were healthy and lacked signs of chronic or infectious disease. According to Dan Cristol, co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Bird Behavior Studies at the College of William & Mary, these birds might have been collided with power lines that stretch across the highway.
Environmentalists and ornithologists predicted two culprits behind dead birds fall from the sky in masses: loud noises and crashes. Leading Ornithologist Karen Rowe at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission concluded that as these birds have terribly poor night vision, roost in vast numbers and fly fast, loud booms from professional-grade fireworks might have forced them to fly below treetop level to escape explosions above. As a result, they might have collided with power lines, trees, cars, concrete buildings, and other stationary objects. Beebe Police Chief Wayne Ballew told NBC News that on the New Year's Eve, he had witnessed hundreds of dead birds falling from the sky shortly after the fireworks exploded in the sky. The federal government has hired U.S. Environmental Services for cleanup and disposal of the dead birds. The environmental firm is moving go door-to-door to pick up the dead birds remaining on the yards and roof tops.
Past historical records reveal that there was a “mass dead bird” event in Babylon in 323 AD. Even, "Alexander the Great" witnessed a flock of ravens fall from the sky. In 1973, hundreds of birds were caught in a violent storm at Stuttgart, Ark. There was a huge number of fish that washed ashore in the last week of Dec 2010 where dying drunm fish were seen in thousands along the west coast of Arkansas. The mass deaths of the fish were later identified to be due to disease. There were hundreds of sardine fish that washed ashore on the Brazilian coast. The authorities thought it could be either a fishing boat released something that killed the fish, an imbalance or chemical pollution. Tens of thousand sof fish were reported dead along the East coast of US, in Cheseapeake bay, while birds dropped dead in Sweden. All these events happended within a few weeks of each other . While there are many speculations ranging from quotes in religious texts, pollution, magentic polarity etc, no one from the scientific world has come forth with any definitive thoery. These incidents are still unexplained and we might never know the truth behind the birds and fish deaths at least not yet.
Some of the biologists theorize there is a correlation between the dead birds falling from the sky and natural gas fracking operations. Fracking involves breaking up of the shale rock to produce the trapped natural gas within. This is a process that uses proppants in the form of sand and chemicals such as breakers, acids, bactericidal agents, clay stabilizer, cross linker, corrosion inhibitor, friction reducer, gelling agents, pH adjusting agents, surfactant. There are over 3,000 fracking sites scattered across the Arkansas region. Since 2010, more than 70 fracking sites have exploded. There could be 2 ways that fracking can lead to mass deaths of birds or fish. Long-term exposure to fracking chemicals can have seriously damage the birds and fish. Teratogenic effects such as deformed hooked beaks and distorted wings can seriously impair their flying skills. This increases the probability of collision with stationary objects. The other threat with fracking is if the procees is done is such a way that it the fracking intersects fault lines, it can cause earthquakes. Though fracking is at least 60 years old and natural gas companies think there is enough experience and date to think it would've caused this, it looks like we still need to understand this process more and could be causing havoc to the birds and fish. Maybe.
One of the possible causes of dead birds falling from the sky can be magnetic polar shifts. Due to temporary shift in the Earth’s magnetic field, birds can lose their sense of flight direction, especially during night if they have bad night vision. This could possibly help to explain why there are bird deaths like this happening all over the world.
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