Arkansas








Dead Birds CleanupIn addition to the thousands of blackbirds that fell from the sky on New Year’s Eve, it’s gets even weirder: 100,000 dead fish were found floating in the Arkansas River just days before. (UPDATE: Hundreds more birds were found dead in Louisiana today). Patrik Jonsson asks the question on many of our minds in the CS Monitor:

The deluge of dead red-winged blackbirds, grackles, and starlings that fell out of the skies over Beebe, Ark., on New Year’s Eve in all likelihood has a simple scientific explanation. Yet genuine concern spread quickly through the town of about 5,000 on New Year’s Eve, and understandably so, as environmental cleanup workers in white jumpsuits descended on Beebe on New Year’s Day to pick up thousands of dead birds from roads and walkways.

The main worry was that the birds, like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, were an indicator of a toxic threat – a possibility that has largely been ruled out. Yet the event spooked residents near and far as, in the absence of a final explanation, imaginations are running wild. People have tried to link the bird die-off — which is certainly unusual, though not unprecedented — to everything from a sign of biblical end times to chemical conspiracies, shifts in the Earth’s magnetic core, and even proof of UFOs.