OK, this is getting spooky. Maybe.
We first heard about it when hundreds of blackbirds were reported falling from the skies in Arkansas–and the number kept growing, now estimated at about 5,000. But that wasn’t the only incident; among the mass sea and air deaths:
- the 5000 blackbird falling dead with physical trauma from the sky in Arkansas;
- not far away, hundreds of thousands of drum fish–but no other species–showed up also dead;
- 100 tons of dead fish washed up on the Brazilian coastline;
- 2 million fish dead in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland;
- 500 more blackbirds in Louisiana;
- a large number of dead snapper fish in New Zealand;
- hundreds of grackles, starlings, and robins fell dead in Kentucky, these with no signs of trauma;
- 40,000 velvet swimming crabs washed up dead near Kent in England;
- 50 Jackdaws fell dead on a street in Sweden, with no visible signs of damage.
Add to that the most recent case in Italy, where 8000 turtle doves fell to their deaths in a town, with blue stains around their bills.
Google is now mapping the mass deaths, which seem to include up to 30 incidences worldwide over the past several weeks.
Now, not all of these incidences seem really strange; a few dozen birds dying a a strain of bird flu in eastern Japan doesn’t seem too unusual. Which leads one to ask, is this really so unusual, or are we just noticing this more than we have in the past? The USGS says this is actually normal, with mass die-offs reported almost every other day, or 163 each year on average. Perhaps all this is is one story with an unusual twist making headlines, and then all the rest of the stories standing out because of the first one.
Occam’s razor suggests this is probably the case–we’re just paying attention to something that was ignored previously. That does not, however, stop the stories from raising some hairs on your arm (especially if you’ve seen the movie The Happening), or feeding conspiracy theories in those who live in a much more interesting world than the rest of us.