It’s happened again.
Last year, 5,000 red-winged blackbirds were found dead on New Year’s Eve, their lifeless bodies littering the roads and fields of Arkansas.
Yesterday, thousands more were found.
The original story in January of last year set off a bit of a panic, you could say, a media blitz involving multiple reports of mass animal deaths around the world: Bird deaths in Louisiana, dead fish in Abergavenny, Wales, thousands of dead walleye in Lake Erie, over 10,000 dead fish in Chesapeake bay, and even 61 whale deaths in New Zealand.
Not all of these reports occurred right at the beginning of 2011, but one of last year’s themes, at least for a while, certainly seemed to be these suspicious mass deaths.
While this latest story should put to rest any fears of the end times (both sets of blackbird deaths occurred on News Years Eve and were likely due to celebratory fireworks — an explanation that makes even more sense now that it’s happened twice), that hasn’t stopped the media from pointing its pudgy fingers at, what else, the apocalypse and Mayan prophecies of 2012.
According to the Daily Mail, scientists are still “baffled” by the deaths, which ended with thousands of birds raining from the sky.
What explanations do we have? The aforementioned fireworks, for one. However, many people wonder, if fireworks were to blame, why has only one species of bird been found dead in Arkansas?
Why were these birds, which “don’t see any better at night than you or I do,” flying at night in the first place?
It’s possible that they were scared by the loud noises of nearby New Year’s parties and made for the sky, only to be startled one last time by the surprising blast of an exploding rocket.
Of course, that’s the easy, mundane explanation.
It is 2012, you know.
Update 12/05/2012 – Should we start the doomsday train up again? Thousands of dead fish were also found on the shores of Norway on January 2. Is this another case of the media paying more attention, or is there really something to worry about going on here?