A dead bird lies on Skylark Street in Beebe, Ark. on Saturday. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday more than 1,000 dead black birds fell from the sky in Beebe. The agency said its enforcement officers began receiving reports about the dead birds Friday. (AP Photo/The Daily Citizen, Warren Watkins)
By AP - Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 black birds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday that it began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. the previous night. The birds fell over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area.
Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said the he birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail." The commission said that New Year's Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress.
Robby King, a wildlife officer for the agency, collected about 65 dead birds, which will be sent for testing to the state Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis. Rowe said that similar events have occurred elsewhere and that test results "usually were inconclusive." She said she doubted the birds were poisoned.
A worker with U.S. Environmental Services, a private contractor, picks up a dead bird in Beebe, Ark. on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 as more can be seen on the street behind him. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday more than 1,000 dead black birds fell from the sky in Beebe. The agency said its enforcement officers began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. Friday. Photo: The Daily Citizen, Warren Watkins / AP
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