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Science Idle

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."
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Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:05AM (#34741450)

    FlashForward predicted this!

  • by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:05AM (#34741452) Homepage Journal
    That is all.
  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) * on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:07AM (#34741458) Homepage Journal

    More likely they died of shock when they flew over a CAFO.. []

  • fools (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eyenot ( 102141 ) <> on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:08AM (#34741460) Homepage

    Hail, lightning, fireworks would have caused said unfound trauma.

    Theory: caught in a hellacious wild updraft. Lifted into highest levels of the atmosphere where they suffered insufficient oxygen and/or insufficient pressure -- vessels and or lungs burst.

    • Re:fools (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nikker ( 749551 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:40AM (#34741592)
      Doubt that, turns out the same day 100,000 Drum Fish [] died the same day. Only Drum fish not any of the other fish that are in the same waters. Unless of course the tornado selectively took only black birds and only drum fish up into the air....
    • Re:fools (Score:4, Insightful)

      by yeshuawatso ( 1774190 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @03:16AM (#34741714) Journal

      I live close to the area where the Drum Fish were found (Fort Smith) and these two events seem to be rare coincidences and nothing more. Weather definitely isn't on the list as the recent tornado, also relatively close by by car, occurred a half a week ago. Unless the tornado (which occurred no where near the Arkansas river) swept up some diseased Drum fish, threw them in the river 50 40 miles away, which spread the disease to the other fish, that the birds ate and died of food poisoning while in mid-flight, weather is not likely to be the cause. We're in a cold front now with no real warm air around, and we normally don't see snow until February, so lightning, hail and other precipitation can be ruled out too.

      This past week has just been wonky for Arkansas. Our weather is on the fritz and can't decide to be warm or cold yet. We've got a crap load of dead fish along an already smelly river bank that other states dump in, and now the left over dead birds from Angry Birds are being dumped here too. What sucks about the whole thing is that media outlets, with nothing better to do but create conspiracy theories, will be broadcasting the most redneck, hick, uneducated person they can find to provide a take as to what they "think" is happening to represent the entire state and populous, instead of sticking to scientific conclusions.

  • by Hangin10 ( 704729 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:09AM (#34741468)
    on CNN []
    • Gee, and they're saying no relation between the incidents. Hm.

      • by johnhp ( 1807490 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @05:10AM (#34742030)
        Also, in the same area, is the town that's had like 500 earthquakes in the past six months or something. A lot of people think that the hydraulic fracturing method of gas drilling caused the earthquakes. Maybe it also caused some gasses to vent. Not to mention the New Madrid Fault is in the area where they're doing that shit... they're probably going to kill me.
    • All at the tail end of the New Madrid fault line, which has received massive amounts of small quakes over the last couple of months.

      Personally, I would say one of these things is not a big deal. Two of them is a coincident. All 3 occurring together, is VERY interesting.
      • So what, earthquake lights zapped the birds' magnet sensors and made them think "south" was "down" (or up)?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Are the events from the show Flashforward coming true?!

    • No, because the crows (not blackbirds) are supposed to die during the flash forward, which never happened.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Except that during the series they found there had been earlier tests that had killed just the birds, before the global flash forward. Not that I'd try applying logic to that series, the time flash is one thing but basic things like a any form of wave that acts exactly the same at ground zero as it does halfway around the earth? The science was at a Doctor Who level, just with less comedy and more thriller.

    • by witherstaff ( 713820 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @03:03AM (#34741678) Homepage
      Too bad it was canceled, we'll just never know! Either that or this is the strangest grassroots effort to renew a show I've heard about.
  • In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead

    Ooh! Ooh! I read that one! It's Stephen King's Under the Dome [] .
    (Quick summary: Some kind of force field is dropped over the town of Chester's Mill, Maine. Lord of the Flies-type microcosm ensues. Good book, I recommend it.)

    • Good book, I recommend it.

      Good premise, though far from original. Horrible book. I don't recommend it. WAY too big, too. YMMV.

      • It was a decent King book, good characters, some interesting mishaps (Suspension of disbelief, but it's a king book). But then the ending was a WTF moment. It was like King had no idea where to end it so he pulled something like BSG did to end their series. Had no idea where it was going so just wrapped it up quick. He made this big deal throughout the book about the dome hitting exactly on the border of the town, a border that is a manmade construct on a map, but then well... he never went anywhere with T

        • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

          Meh, I've found that with several of King's books. I'd be reading along and it's going well and then _The End_

          WTF? But what happened with... and... but...

          I'm actually kinda offended that he was mentioned in the same breath as Alfred Hitchcock.


  • People, did anyone think to look up in the sky? Contrails, people? Contrails?

    It's only after the fact that folks recall strange looking jets and black helicopters.

    New World Order, folks, the TSA is just the start.
    • Oh yeah, I think I've seen that movie []. Falling birds, everything. We'll find out about the technical details later.
  • by ridgecritter ( 934252 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:22AM (#34741512)

    through being trapped in storm-associated updrafts. These can rapidly reach high altitudes and cold temperatures (

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:28AM (#34741534) Homepage Journal
    Maybe the birds realized they were in Arkansas and figured suicide was really the only way out.
  • or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them.

    Oh don't say something like that without proof. Just the fact that such a wild guess was even thrown about is more than enough reason for the animal welfare dickheads to want to ban fireworks outright.

    • How about poison? Leave out some bird feed but contaminate it with something which will kill them over the next few hours. Many poisons intended for pests are designed to work slowly so the carcass isn't found right beside the poison.

  • Chicken Little has been vindicated at last!

  • religious folks gonna love this one. :|

    • This is the same thing I was thinking.... I'm just waiting for someone on my facebook or something else to start saying it's a sign of jesus's return.
  • I know! (Score:5, Funny)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:52AM (#34741630) Homepage Journal

    They're pining for the fjords!

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:55AM (#34741638) Journal

    Given the fanciful explanations being put forward, I thought I'd add these possibilities which are just as likely:

    - Blackbird mob war (explains the trauma too!) ....Variation: A new super race of pigeon decided to whack the competition

    - Suicide protest over the abandonment of puppies and kittens over Christmas

    - Someone below was constipated for a week after eating some curry and after going off to die on his own in the wilderness managed to pass wind just in time to prevent death from toxic shock. Unfortunately the birds copped the brunt of it.

    - Terrorist Blackbird not caught at the Blackbird airport in time because those pesky Blackbirds loved their freedom too much and refused to be irradiated and groped before they travel

    - Y2K11 didn't just hit iPads and iPhones. Those poor Blackbirds shouldn't have bought their pacemakers from Apple and believed the "It just works" hype

    - An alien witch temporarily transformed them from Blackbirds into Lemmings. When they hit the ground they changed back

  • The Oprah Winfrey Network went on the air. Nothing could survive flying through those waves.

  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @03:04AM (#34741684)

    Blackbirds? Didn't the military retire those years ago?

  • Somebody get Joseph Fiennes on this!

  • Anyone else catch that?
  • My wife... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by scsirob ( 246572 )

    .. She ate beans and farted..

  • Fall dead? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Master Moose ( 1243274 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @03:56AM (#34741822) Homepage

    How do we know the fall didn't kill them.

    Perhaps they all fell from the sky alive, but it was impact with the earth that got them? You people too quick to jump to conclusions - all of you!

  • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @06:41AM (#34742296) Homepage

    Repent, the end is nigh, Elton John and his husband had a child on Christmas day and women dress without modesty in Liechtenstein, therefore we are all DOOOOOOOMED. Especially the fish and the birds in Arkansas, who were all gay and very keen on felching.

  • Angry? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @08:37AM (#34742646)

    Maybe the birds had become angry at some nearby pigs and began launching themselves from catapults.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday January 03, 2011 @09:06AM (#34742758) Journal

    In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel..

    Alfred Hitchcock did not write novels.

  • by tylersoze ( 789256 ) on Monday January 03, 2011 @10:21AM (#34743252)

    Not that I really expect any sort of editorial checking from Slashdot anymore, but the name of the town is Beebee. I should know, I grew up just south of there, and I was in the area over Christmas visiting my family. We left the day before this happened. There were strong thunderstorms the day we left, so that might have been the cause.

  • Not quite accurate (Score:4, Informative)

    by I8TheWorm ( 645702 ) * on Monday January 03, 2011 @02:46PM (#34745918) Journal
    Erm, apparently there was physical trauma (see here [] and here []). They're still guessing, but leaning towards stress from fireworks, although lightening or hail haven't been ruled out.

    This is far from the first time anything like this has been recorded.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser