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A bird-brained explanation
Theory on avian deaths is for the birds

 A dead Starling lies on the highway in Pointe Coupee Parish, La., about 300 miles from Beebe, Ark., where more than 3,000 blackbirds fell from the sky.
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 1/7/2011

I'VE HEARD some dumb explanations in my time, but nothing that compares to what officials believe happened to as many as 4,000 birds found dead in Arkansas.

They got all excited because of the booms from fireworks, flew into each other in the dark and dropped to the ground stone dead.

Anyone who believes that probably still believes that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Now I don't know what the real explanation is, but red-winged blackbirds and starlings--yes, I saw at least one starling in the video footage--just don't run into each other at high speed.

Ever watch a flock of birds in the winter? They fly practically in unison, like a school of fish. One turns and they all turn--in a split second.

They heard a boom and just ran into each other? I've seen landowners fire shotguns to scatter roosting blackbirds in the final moments before dark, and there were no feathered fliers crashing into one another. They just take off as one and move somewhere else.

But let's assume that fireworks did cause stress that led to the Arkansas birds' demise. Similar bird deaths have been reported in Kentucky and Louisiana in the past several days. Were the Arkansas fireworks responsible for those deaths, too?

Man! That had to be one loud fireworks display!

What about the fish kill in the Arkansas River during the same period? Are fireworks responsible for 100,000 fish suddenly perishing?

And then there was the fish kill in the Chesapeake Bay that was reported Wednesday. Did the boom from those fireworks reach all the way from Arkansas to eastern Maryland?

There's something really weird going on here, folks! Maybe the end of the world really is at hand!

Could it be that the Chicken Little prophesy is coming true? Is the sky falling? Did little chunks of it hit those birds and kill them?

Did big chunks of sky land in the Arkansas River and the Chesapeake Bay and kill all those fish?

Is that wormhole I talked about several weeks ago beginning to shift into place and sending space debris into our atmosphere?

Did these birds bang into some spacecraft from another galaxy that was on a midnight flight over the south-central United States?

Did strange exhaust fumes from that ship poison fish in the Arkansas River and the Chesapeake Bay?

No, those fish died from a cold winter, experts say. Yeah, right! Like we haven't had cold winters before.

Besides, we are in the throes of global warming, remember? Cold-weather fish kills are impossible. Ask Al Gore.

I still lean to the sky-is-falling theory. I was worried that something like this would happen when the Republicans regained a majority in Congress.

Whatever happened, 2011 has gotten off to an eerie start. Dead birds falling from the sky! Dead fish washing up on the shore! Tea party members in Congress!

I gotta tell you, this is scary stuff!

Too bad Alfred Hitchcock isn't around to check this out. It would make a good movie.

Donnie Johnston:
Email: djohnston@freelancestar.com