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Old 01-04-2011, 03:29 PM   #11
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Officials probe 'unusual' mass deaths of birds in two states - CNN.com
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The center will also examine samples from Louisiana, where 500 red-winged blackbirds, starlings and grackles were found dead in Labarre.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:05 PM   #12
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Given the timing of this event; I find this hypothesis extremely unlikely. I would look more for factory emissions if a man-made cause is involved.
I also have a hard time believing that lightning would do such a thing. Or fireworks. I wonder if we'll ever really know?
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:16 PM   #13
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Lightening.

Heh. I would say that would leave some evidence. The comedic value would be high however.
Has anyone taken it upon themselves to autopsy these poor unfortunates?

To totally threadjack, since I am home from work sitting with a nice glass of American Pale Ale, would anyone believe me if I said I saw ball lightening once?

It took me years to realise what it was. There was lightening, near the house, and I was watching as it struck co-incidentally. When the bolt was finished I saw what I defined as "air on fire". I watched it for a bit, it didn't vary in size, it just looked like a ball of white. I had no idea what it was, nothing was there to burn, but it emitted light.
For years I was wondering how the lightening managed to set air on fire. Air is most N, does that burn? And so on.

Then I saw some breathless documentary about ball lightening, and eventually something seemed familiar.

Madness altogether!
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:41 PM   #14
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Dead fish and birds: Hundreds of dead birds found in Kentucky - National Cultural Oddities | Examiner.com

Dead birds and fish are showing up in other countries.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:21 PM   #15
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50 CFR 21.43 - Depredation order for blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows and magpies. - Code of Federal Regulations - Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries - Subpart D: Control of depredating birds - vLex

I was sent this text from a retired wildlife manager of our local Refuge. According to him, it is not uncommon for poisoning of these so-called 'nuisance' birds to occur.

Suunto, I was wondering if you still think that poisoning is not possible? I am not trying to be argumentative, just curious why you think this theory is unlikely?
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:44 PM   #16
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50 CFR 21.43 - Depredation order for blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows and magpies. - Code of Federal Regulations - Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries - Subpart D: Control of depredating birds - vLex
Suunto, I was wondering if you still think that poisoning is not possible? I am not trying to be argumentative, just curious why you think this theory is unlikely?
I did not say that it was impossible, simply that I thought (and still think) that given the circumstances, poisoning, particularly deliberate, would be a very unlikely explanation. Toxicants currently used for nuisance bird control should have one of two effects: (1) Kill only a small proportion of the birds soon after feeding, but cause those affected to behave in such a manner as to alarm the rest of the flock, causing them to vacate the area (note - this would be done during the daytime when birds are feeding, not at night), or (2) Kill the majority of birds ingesting the toxicant over a 24-36 hour period, with most if not all mortality occurring at or very near the flock roosting site.
That aside, I think that we should withhold judgment until results of necropsies are available.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:03 PM   #17
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There was a lengthy posting on the ProMED listserve today on this subject, a few excerpts follow:
"Wildlife officials in both Arkansas and Louisiana sent carcasses to researchers at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis. and the University of Georgia." (Results are not expected for another two or three weeks)

"Mass bird deaths aren't uncommon. The U.S. Geological Service's website listed about 90 mass deaths of birds and other wildlife from June through Dec. 12. There were five deaths of at least 1,000 birds, with the largest near Houston, Minnesota, where parasite infestations killed about 4,000 water birds between Sept. 6 and Nov. 26."

"In 1999, several thousand grackles fell from the sky and staggered about before dying in north Louisiana. It took five months to get the diagnosis: an E. coli infection of the air sacs in their skulls." (This was a new one for me.)

Re: The Kentucky bird kill - "...tests performed on the birds ruled out diseases or poisons."

The source for most of the ProMED report appears to have been an MSNBC article, see Plot thickens? Dead birds found in Sweden, Kentucky - U.S. news - Environment - msnbc.com
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:46 PM   #18
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Fireworks could be the cause.

News-Press - Fireworks likely cause of massive Ark. bird kill
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The not-so-mysterious saga began at about 10 p.m. New Year's Eve in the tiny town of Beebe, about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock.
"Someone shot off 10 to 12 professional-type fireworks near the roost," she says. Wayne Ballew, Beebe's chief of police, lives nearby. He reported that they "shook the windows on his house," she says.
Rowe has talked with residents who live in the neighborhood where the birds were found and they all reported the loud booms at that time.
At that point, the flock, which could easily numbers in the tens of thousands, took to the air.
It was actually composed of both red-winged blackbirds and European starlings, which commonly roost together.
Unfortunately for the birds, both blackbirds and starlings "have extremely limited night vision," says Robert Meese, an avian ecologist at the University of California-Davis who studies a related blackbird species.
In addition, neighbors were also setting off fireworks and bottle rockets, which further confused the birds who were now madly trying to get back to their safe perches, Rowe says.
"I talked to individuals who were outside when the birds started crashing into things," she says.After the birds took flight they would have been completely disoriented and flying at a high rate of speed, "most likely about 25 mph, given my experience with their cousins, the tricolored blackbird," Meese says.
They would have flown up into the air, then back down looking for a safe place to roost.
"This rapid descent of living birds crashing into these multiple obstacles then caused the loud noises reported by the residents of Beebe, especially those that flew into rooftops or walls of houses," Meese says. "This also accounts for the blunt force trauma to the breasts."
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The necropsies performed by the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission found trauma to the chest, hemorrhages to the chest and the leading edge of the birds' wings broken, Rowe says.
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:50 PM   #19
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Magnetic Pole Shift Causing Chaos & Death | World News Insight
Would anyone believe a magnetic pole shift?
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:31 PM   #20
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I hope they figure out the real reason soon~
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