Warning: Totally random news story.
My brother and I were in the kitchen when we heard our mom react to a news article she was reading: "What?! A thousand blackbirds in Arkansas mysteriously died and fell out of the sky on New Year's Eve?!!!" My brother and I looked at each other, eyebrows raised, for a couple seconds before we burst out laughing. We were both thinking, naturally, of last year's TV show FlashForward, in which one of the clues the characters uncovered in their quest to learn the cause of the blackout (a worldwide loss of consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds) was an earlier incident of thousands of black birds--crows, I believe--falling out of the sky. This real-life event seemed uncomfortably close to the events of the TV show, and we immediately became concerned for the safety of our upcoming flights home (in the FlashForward blackouts, millions died from accidents, such as plane crashes, that occurred while everyone was unconscious).
Well, it turns out most of the birds that died were red-winged blackbirds, not crows, and this was in Arkansas, after all, not Somalia, so we're probably safe from the FlashForward conspiracy. But current estimates put the number of dead birds from 4,000 to 5,000, and we still don't know why they all fell out of the sky at the same time over Beebe, Arkansas. Lightning or high-altitude hail have been presented as possible causes, though many birds have been taken in for testing to determine the true cause of the deaths.
Further adding to the bizarreness of the story, just 125 miles from Beebe 100,000 dead drum fish were found floating in a 20 mile stretch of the Arkansas River last week. Due to the fact that almost all of the dead fish were the same species, disease is the expected cause of the fishes' deaths. Tests are being conducted to figure out what sort of disease it was.
All these mass deaths in close proximity at nearly the same time is pretty disturbing. This could totally be the start of a creepy movie. Here's hoping it ends there, they solve the mysteries, and it all goes down as a weird coincidence. I don't see why that wouldn't be the case, but the FlashForward fan in the back of my head (forgotten since last spring) is half hoping something awesome will follow.
News story can be found on many sources, but in honor of FlashForward I will direct you to ABC.
Edit 1/4/11: Apparently, the cause of the birds' deaths was a storm. So they say...
Edit 1/5/11: Or I guess it was fireworks.