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‘Aflockalypse’ Unusual but Not Unheard of: Experts

Friday, January 7, 2011 21:23
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The mass deaths of birds, fish, and other animals in places like the US and in Sweden are freakish in nature but do not signify that the end is near, experts told Reuters this week.

The deaths of thousands of birds and fish in Arkansas made headlines and soon after, more incidents of mass animal deaths were reported.

Experts told Reuters that the birds could have been killed by hail or lightning while tornadoes and waterspouts can suck up small fish. Fireworks, power lines, and other human dangers may be the cause.

“Science is struggling to explain these things. These are examples of the surprises that nature can still bring,” Nick Nuttall, a spokesperson for Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), told Reuters. “More research is needed.”

On New Years, about 5,000 blackbirds dropped from the sky in Arkansas. In Louisiana, around 500 dead birds were found. Sweden also had its own mass bird-death incident when 100 jackdaws were found dead in the street.

According to AFP, Thailand, Britain, Japan, and Brazil also experienced mass deaths of birds and fish.

Conspiracy theorists rushed to the Internet and speculated that the cause of the bird deaths could range from government-produced chemtrails, to the Alaska-based High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), an ionospheric research program.

“There is nothing apocalyptic or anything that is necessarily out of the ordinary for what we would see in any given week,” Kristen Schuler, a scientist at the US Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, told AFP.

The USGS has kept a record of bird as well as other animal die-offs on their website, AFP said. The numbers range from the hundreds to the thousands.

“It appears unusually loud noises, reported shortly before the birds began to fall, caused the birds to flush from a roost,” according to the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission website.

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