Thousands of Birds Drop Dead in Arkansas

Red-Winged-BlackbirdAn Arkansas town experienced a bizarre end to year 2010 after thousands of birds mysteriously fell from the sky on New Year’s Eve.

Some 5,000 red-winged blackbirds literally rained on Beebe, Arkansas, on New Year’s Eve, with tests showing that the birds suffered from physical trauma before dropping to the ground. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission tried to shed some light on the massive bird kill. “The birds suffered from acute physical trauma leading to internal hemorrhage and death,” the commission said in a statement, adding that the blackbirds were generally healthy and were not suffering any kind of infection.

Arkansas state veterinarian Dr. George Badley told NBC News that the birds were already dead when they hit the ground, suggesting that the physical trauma occurred in midair. Some scientists believe that fireworks may have panicked the blackbirds, which are known to fly in close flocks. “Loud noises were reported shortly before the birds began to fall from the sky,” the commission said in the statement.

An ornithologist for the commission, Karen Rowe, said that the birds were startled upon hearing the loud noises, causing them to hit things such as roofs as they were “flying at rooftop level instead of treetop level.”