ARKANSAS– More than 1,000 blackbirds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year’s Eve. Game officials will investigate the mystery, including whether fireworks stressed the birds to death. This sad event reminds us of the brilliant documentary Winged Migration, which captures the magnificence of birds in flight. If fireworks are to blame, let’s find responsible solutions so the skies remain filled with life, not just manmade fire. – Global Animal

CNN – Arkansas game officials hope testing scheduled to begin Monday will solve the mystery of why more than 1,000 blackbirds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year’s Eve.

The birds — most of which were dead — were found within a one-mile area of Beebe, about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said.

Karen Rowe, an ornithologist for the commission, said the incident is not that unusual and is often caused by a lightning strike or high-altitude hail. A strong storm system moved through the state earlier in the day Friday.

Officials also speculated that fireworks shot by New Year’s revelers in the area might have caused severe stress in the birds.

“Since it only involved a flock of blackbirds and only involved them falling out of the sky, it is unlikely they were poisoned, but a necropsy is the only way to determine if the birds died from trauma or toxin,” Rowe said.

The dead birds will be sent for testing to labs at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission and the National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin.

See video newscast here: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/02/arkansas.falling.birds/index.html?hpt=C1

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