Monday, January 3, 2011

A thousand blackbirds fall

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.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought.

Anonymous said...

Dude, my fiancee and I did the SAME EXACT THING!!! LOL! We saw this on the news and looked at each other like, "WTF?!? Flashforward?!?" It's WAY more than a coincidence to me, especially with these new reports of 500 more birds in Louisiana and the fish incident you mentioned! Something's up, and I'm like you that the Flashforward fan in me wants to believe that ominous feeling like this is the harbinger of something else!

Great post!

Eleni said...

Haha, yeah, it is eerily similar to the TV show. How long after the Somalia incident did the worldwide blackout occur? I'm not sure I'd like to have a flash-forward. I guess for some of the people in the show it improved their lives in some way, but for most it messed things up a lot. I just really hope the blackout doesn't happen when I'm on the airplane ;)

Mary said...

Wow, that's really creepy! I did not hear about this story actually until you mentioned it. I'll have to read up on it... I would be freaked out if I lived in the area. Really freaked out. 4,000 - 5,000 birds is a lot! LOL

wolfman said...

hilarious! haha, hey i love ur blog, uve got so much material on stuff! and its hard to find someone whos as passionate about RPGs as u anymore, id appreciate it if u visited my blog: geekspeak, if you find the time to. (im trying to get more followers, im relatively new to blogging

Eleni said...

Mary - Yeah, and there were a few other news stories about large numbers of animals dying soon after that, though not so close together, e.g. couple million fish dying in Chesapeake Bay. Really freaky!

Hi Wolfman! Nice to meet you. I'll definitely check out your blog :)

Sebastian said...

Wow, that's pretty cool!

People forget that birds roost in trees and hedges -- probably because it's so dark that you simply can't see them (you have to admit, it's quite cool how birds just magically 'vanish' as soon as the sun sets, only to be replaced with a little night song, and then silence...)

A firework would definitely make sense. I wonder how many birds sit in a single tree.

Anyway, it reminds me of this awful/awesome nature show I was watching the other day, about African subsistence farmers. Their main problem is birds eating their crops, so they spend all day standing in the fields, scaring the birds.

Then, when night falls, the birds all settle in some nearby bushes... and the farmers blow up the bushes! They set explosive charges, napalm, and so on. They even showed the fires/explosions on camera...

Eleni said...

So supposedly the fireworks scared the birds from their roosts and caused them to fly haphazardly in all directions and crash into things. But I wonder why it happened in this case, and not in response to thousands of other fireworks shows.

Wow, blowing up the poor birds in their sleep. As long as the birds are overpopulated, and not some endangered species...

Sebastian said...

Well, it's the birds, or the humans... does it matter of they're endangered...? :P *looks at the carebear*

(FWIW, I don't think they're endangered.)

The firework probably went into the tree and exploded there! Most fireworks go a lot higher than a tree (and you're also meant to launch them in open spaces...)

Eleni said...

If they are endangered, then those humans are bullies and wimps. OK, not really, but I do feel bad about it if the birds are endangered. Better if they're not. Then I don't feel particularly bad about it.

Well if the fireworks exploded the tree, wouldn't there have been a bunch of charred birds right underneath, rather than injured ones scattered about the neighborhood? I guess I don't know.

Sebastian said...

Fireworks are pretty small explosions! I mean, they're not... but small enough that they would probably only fragment a few nearby birds.

Or maybe it exploded next to the tree!

A firework really shouldn't be exploding anywhere near the ground, though :)

Eleni said...

Yeah, at least not the explode-y kind of fireworks. The little sparking ones can go on the ground. Those are fun, too. But they wouldn't do much harm to most trees, or birds.