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500 More Red-Winged Blackbirds Found Dead in Louisiana

Jan 4, 2011 – 11:54 AM
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David Knowles

David Knowles Writer

This is getting weird.

Four days after an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 red-winged blackbirds fell from the sky in Beebe, Ark., about 500 more dead birds were found lying lifeless on a quarter-mile-long stretch of highway in Pointe Coupee Parish in Louisiana.

The birds, red-winged blackbirds and starlings, were discovered on Monday, Baton Rouge's The Advocate reported. Biologists will send some of the birds to labs in Georgia and Wisconsin to conduct necropsies and tests to determine the cause of death.

After examining the birds found in Arkansas, state officials concluded that they had died as a result of blunt trauma, possibly caused by flying into buildings after being startled by New Year's fireworks.

A day before the Arkansas bird deaths were reported, 100,000 drum fish were found dead in a massive fishkill in the Arkansas River. That die-off is still being investigated but was likely caused by a combination of factors including a population boom over the summer, a deadly pathogen and a harsh winter cold snap.

As to theories about what has caused the deaths of the birds found in Louisiana, state wildlife veterinarian Jim LaCour told The Advocate that "underlying disease, starvation and cold fronts" are all possibilities.

Read more at The Advocate.

More Surge Desk coverage on the bird deaths:
Dead Birds in Arkansas and Other Bad Stuff HAARP Has Been Blamed For
Birds, Bees and Fish: Why Are So Many Creatures Dying in 2011?
5 Other Animal Die-Offs

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Filed under: Nation, Science, Surge Desk