Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

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Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Alpha Female » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:44 pm

I've heard a lot of recent news about many different types of birds falling from the sky in different places around the world. I found an article that's quite interesting about them and may shed some light on the subject.
A mysterious rain of thousands of dead birds darkened New Year's Eve in Arkansas, and this week similar reports streamed in from Louisiana, Sweden, and elsewhere.

But the in-air bird deaths aren't due to some apocalyptic plague or insidious experiment—they happen all the time, scientists say. The recent buzz, it seems, was mainly hatched by media hype.

At any given time there are "at least ten billion birds in North America ... and there could be as much as 20 billion—and almost half die each year due to natural causes," said ornithologist Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society in Washington, D.C.

But what causes dead birds to fall from the sky en masse? The Arkansas case points to two common culprits: loud noises and crashes.

Beginning at roughly 11:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve Arkansas wildlife officers started hearing reports of birds falling from the sky in a square-mile area of the city of Beebe. Officials estimate that up to 5,000 red-winged blackbirds, European starlings, common grackles, and brown-headed cowbirds fell before midnight.

Results from preliminary testing released Wednesday by the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, show the birds died from blunt-force trauma, supporting preliminary findings released by the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission on Monday.

"They collided with cars, trees, buildings, and other stationary objects," said ornithologist Karen Rowe of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

"Right before they began to fall, it appears that really loud booms from professional-grade fireworks—10 to 12 of them, a few seconds apart—were reported in the general vicinity of a roost of the birds, flushing them out," Rowe said.

"There were other, legal fireworks set off at the same time that might have then forced the birds to fly lower than they normally do, below treetop level, and [these] birds have very poor night vision and do not typically fly at night."

The dead birds found in Arkansas are of species that normally congregate in large groups in fall or winter. "The record I've heard is 23 million birds in one roost," Audubon's Butcher said.

"In that context, 5,000 birds dying is a fairly small amount."


A Towering Problem for Birds
Birds often hit objects in flight, especially "tall buildings in cities, or cell phone towers, or wind turbines, or power lines," Butcher said.

"The structures that seem to cause the most deaths are very tall and constantly lit," he said. "On foggy nights, birds that should probably normally be paying attention to the stars get disoriented, and circle around the structures until they collapse" and fall.

Collisions with power lines seem to have killed roughly 500 blackbirds and starlings in Louisiana on Tuesday. The 50 to 100 jackdaws found on a street in Sweden that same day showed no signs of disease and also apparently died from blunt-force trauma, according to the Swedish National Veterinary Institute.


Wind, snow, hail, lightning, and other challenges posed by weather can easily kill flying birds too.

For example, "last year a couple of hundred pelicans washed up by the Oregon-Washington border," Butcher said. "A cold front had unexpectedly moved in, and they faced icing on their wings and bodies."


Bird-Death Hype Detracts From True Crises?
Of course, death doesn't just stalk birds from above. For instance, "waterfowl get botulism—and salmonella and avian pox can spread at bird feeders," Butcher said.

No matter how it arrives, death appears to be very much a fact of life for birds. "Young birds that hatch in the spring have an approximately 75 percent chance of not reaching their first birthdays," the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Rowe said.

"To biologists, these deaths are normal occurrences.

"I wish I could take all this energy and attention on these deaths and direct them toward true crises in wildlife biology, to things like the white-nose syndrome in bats," Rowe added.

She does, though, see a silver lining in the sky-is-falling coverage this week.

"I hope we can raise public awareness of what impact man-made structures can have on other species. How many migratory warblers do you want to kill just to get better cell phone reception?"
Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... s-science/
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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by -x-Zaroque-x- » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:14 am

Wow, this indeed is interesting Alpha Female, it is a shame that so many birds are falling.
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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Thandi » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:08 pm

How odd,this truly is an interesting phenomenom.
everything out of the ordinary is considered weird, i try to stay clear of the eathlings and their fears

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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Grin » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:10 pm

Oh, I saw this on the news and internet a few days ago as well. It's rather disheartening to hear that fireworks were the cause of around 5,000 deaths, even if they were "merely" birds. It's even more unfortunate that about 80,000 dead fish also washed up on shore in Arkansas as well about a day or so afterword.

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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Ikyote » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:11 pm

We were just talking about this in English class a few days ago. Thanks for the more depth information.

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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by wolfman200789 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:42 pm

i saw a bird falling form the sky my brother and sister were in the backyard and the came in scraming about a dead bird that came out of no were so me and my mother went to look and a female sparrow was lieing there dead and we did not no what happened
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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by shadowwolf966 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:02 pm

That was all ove the news!
It was kinda weird to see all these birds, lying dead in the street, by the hundreds.

I wonder why it only happened in arkansas, and no where else. And there were fireworks everywhere else too- I wonder why it only happened there. :P
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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by moonlightrose » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:15 pm

Well that might explaine it but its happening every were like in canada and now theres fish and cows dieing to what about that thought? :?

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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by April » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:14 pm

The sad thing is that humans cause so many bad things to the natural environment. Yet even so much as breathing is polluting the environment...it's almost like...impossible to avoid polluting the environment. Unlike other animals we need fire to keep us warm cause were furless. Yet idk...just the more I hear about things dying or things disappearing because of humans the more...well pathetic it sounds. Skyscrapers? Probably one of the least of our worries yet they too are causing problems. Just ugh...this world is so messed.
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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Aurora121 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:22 pm

That's interesting. I'd be scared to to see this in my town, though. The first thing I'd think is there would be some poisonous stuff in the air.
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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Kivia » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:24 pm

I just saw an article pertaining to this, which is about how scientists have concluded that they think they know why they all fell from the sky in Arkansas:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/2 ... 14853.html
So they say it was "blunt force trauma"....I'm just have difficulty believing that. I mean, if something falls out of the sky, then wouldn't it obviously have trauma when it hits the ground? And if fireworks startled them and eventually led to the thousands of birds to die, then how come this doesn't happen every year, or every 4th of July?
But again, it can just be the media blowing this all out of proportion. One of the tactics they like to use is fear, and I think they're definitely using it here. If this does actually happen more often than we think, then this really does sadden me.

Oh, and there's another story on hundreds of starlings dying in South Dakota. The USDA actually did come out and say that they laid out poisoned bait for the birds because they were defecating in a cattle feedlot.
Here's a link to the story on that as well:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/2 ... 11709.html
I really don't think killing them was the way to go, personally. There must have been so many other methods they could have used, but I guess it's what they thought had to be done.



All of these mass animal deaths are so disheartening....

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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Earz » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:44 pm

Wow that is so weird...
I also heard Fish and cows are dieing?
Is that true ._.?
If so then something really bad happened...
I think its because of the oil spill...The water was with oil and something might of happened.
But i don't really guess its because of the oil spill... :?:
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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by rodeuse » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:31 am

I heard that analysis are still underway to know the cause of death of birds. UNEP has recommended more research on the subject are conducted into these deaths amazing. In Sweden they are made autopsies on the birds and they all reported that they had internal bleeding but no external injury. In France ilsnous was announced in the newspapers that there was a chance that all these birds died because winter was very cold this year and they were very low.

Nobody say the same thing everywhere.

With regard to fish with me one speaks of hypothermia in a row

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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by Magnificence » Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:29 pm

Wow... Thats ineresting, thanks for sharing Alpha Female :P I feel bad for the poor birds :(

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Re: Why Are Birds Falling from the Sky?

Post by DMJ99 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:15 pm

I've heard of this incident...this is interesting.
I think another incident that happened somewhere in BC, Canada, that I heard about. Though I think it was concluded they died because the fermented grapes they were eating had affects on them similar to alcohol. So the reason was that they were 'drunk' and that made them loopy.

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