"It wasn't a secret government spraying program, Martians or gas seeping out of the New Madrid fault that killed the 5,000 or so blackbirds that died New Year's Eve in Beebe, Ark.
It was someone shooting off professional grade fireworks in a residential district, scaring the night-blind birds out of their roost into a 25-mph flight that ran them into houses, signs and even the ground, says Karen Rowe, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ornithologist.
"They were bouncing off houses, basketball backboards, trucks," she says.
Rowe made her observations Wednesday as Game and Fish officials got back further results from necropsies on the dead birds. The findings have given Rowe and others enough confidence in their original conclusions that they were having fun with some of the other theories floating about."
Elizabeth Weise reports for USA TODAY January 5, 2011.
"Expert: Mass Wildlife Deaths Not Unusual" (Wisconsin State Journal)
"Mystery Bird Deaths: Blame It on Harsh Winter, Fireworks, or 'Avicide'? " (Christian Science Monitor)
"Is It an Animal Apocalypse? Facts and Theories About Recent Mass Die-Offs" (Melbourne Herald Sun)
"Mass Bird & Fish Die-Offs Go Global, Spark End Times Panic" (Ministry Values)
"Disease Not Cause of Mass Bird Deaths in Swedish Town" (Monsters and Critics)
"Mass Bird Deaths Cause Conspiracy Theorists To Freak Out. But Science Will Explain It All" (London Telegraph)
"Bird Deaths: Did NWS Radar Capture Startled Flock?" (Baltimore Sun)
"Bird Deaths & the Avian Future" (On Point/NPR)
"Mass Bird Deaths May Not Be Such a Mystery" (Nashville Newschannel 5)
"Power Lines Suspected in Bird Deaths" (Paducah Sun)
"UGA Determining Cause of Mysterious Bird Deaths in South" (Gainesville Times)
"Mass Animal Death: Fact and Fiction" (New Yorker)
Aflockalypse Now (Washington Post)
"Why the Aflockalypse Is Business As Usual For Biodiversity—And Why That's Not Good" (ecocentric/TIME)