January 03, 2011

What Is Going On In Arkansas?

I read the other day of the deaths of a thousand blackbirds that fell dead out of the sky in Arkansas. The original claim by "experts" was that there must have been some sort of cloud-to-cloud lighting that lit up the flock, but now that the total is over 5,000 birds, that theory just doesn't seem to hold water. And speaking of water, at least 100,000 drum (the freshwater fish, not the saltwater game fish, or the musical instrument) have died in an Arkansas river, and the toll may go into the hundreds of thousands. disease is suspected instead of pollution since only one species was killed (other native fish seem to be unaffected), but when you have two bizarre die-offs within days and within fairly close proximity, you have to start wondering if this is a coincidence, or if the die-offs are somehow tied together to the same biological organism.

There is no word yet an whether or not if any of the fish and fowl have come back from the dead with a dietary preference for brains, but we'll keep a look-out, just in case.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 3, 2011 10:42 AM

While I'll restrain myself from jumping to premature conclusions here, I have to wonder if it's possible, with all the storm activity of late here in the Midwest and the moisture, as it always is in these instances, being pulled from the Gulf to feed them, that we are seeing pollutants from the Corexit and other materials contaminating the Gulf being dropped inland as many thought they would be.

On the other hand, huge die-offs of fish are not uncommon in big rivers. I've seen the Mississippi with dead fish all over the place; same on the Missouri and smaller Ozark streams. And this wouldn't be the first time large numbers of birds have been found dead on the ground.

This could portend a frightening ecological disaster or be just more of the strange things that nature has to offer. All we can do is wait and see.

Posted by: -1Tom Usher at January 3, 2011 01:13 PM

The conclusions of the article are dumb. Firecrackers causing the birds to be frightened to death??? In this area of the country, Louisiana, black birds are a nuisance. We commonly fire guns in the air to try and get rid of them. The only thing I can say for 5000 birds falling out of the sky, what a good gumbo that would make!! The most likely explanation for the birds might be comtaminated bird feeders. Many of us put these out and with the wet weather they can develop fungus that can kill the birds. The reason that other birds are not as effected is that when black birds flock they take over everthing and would strip the feeders very quickly. The fish, who knows, fish die and don't indicate why. Believe me, they will all be back.

Posted by: david at January 3, 2011 02:02 PM

Firecrackers can cause birds to scare to death, I've seen it happen when someone set off a string of the things outside my window and my canaries literally dropped dead.

But firecrackers causing thousands of noisy blackbirds to drop from the sky all at once? I don't buy it either.

Bird feeders maybe, depending on how long the thing lasted (impression I got from the press coverage was that they all died almost at the same moment, poisoned food would provide for a larger stretch, they'd die over a period of days or even weeks).

Some cloud of poisonous gas catching a flock of birds seems the most likely cause, maybe released from that river after whatever it was caused those fish to die (only to be discovered after the birds).

Posted by: JTW at January 5, 2011 02:57 AM

Evaporation is how nature distills water.
The pollutants cannot evaporate with the water. Oil cannot evaporate with the water and remain a part of it. The substances are immiscible. The people need more science if they want to get involved in debates about science. That most especially includes attorney/politicians. One needs to actually have knowledge about the subject to legislate about it in a reasonable fashion. Hence: AGW.

Posted by: Odins Acolyte at January 5, 2011 06:25 PM