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Wildlife officials in the US are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 black birds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.
BEEBE, Ark. (AP) — Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 black birds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday that it began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. the previous night. The birds fell over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area.
Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said the he birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail."
The commission said that New Year's Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress.
Robby King, a wildlife officer for the agency, collected about 65 dead birds, which will be sent for testing to the state Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis.
Rowe said that similar events have occurred elsewhere and that test results "usually were inconclusive." She said she doubted the birds were poisoned.
GRIGGSTOWN, NJ - January 26, 2009 (WPVI) -- Like some scary old Hitchcock movie, they seem to be everywhere, hundreds if not thousands of dead starlings and blackbirds littering lawns in the Griggstown section of Franklin Township.
The dead birds, we now know, are the result of a culling program by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture attempting to help a Princeton farm overrun by birds. The poison left for them takes 24 hours to ingest before the birds die. Local officials said the feds gave nothing but a vague notification of what was happening.
"They did not tell us when they were gonna do it, where they were gonna do it or what the aftermath would be," said Kenneth Daly, Franklin Township Manager.
Melissa Weatherly says, "I immediately called mom because I had to go to work, I said you have to come get the kids and get the dog because I don't know what's going on." She continues, "It was horrible; you could not even get down the road without running over hundreds. It was that bad."
The mystery is unraveling like scenes from a movie, dozens of U.S. Environmental Services crews spent the day picking up the birds, walking between homes and climbing on roofs with protective hazmat suits and breathing masks,.
Weatherly is skeptical, "They're walking around in masks and I'm wondering do we need the same thing because what makes that happen for them to drop out of the sky like that."
Katherina Yancy with Today's THV found one bird still living. It was confused, injured, continuously walked in circles and didn't make a sound or attempt to fly.