Aflockalypse Now? Thousands of Dead Red-winged Blackbirds in Arkansas may have come from Iowa


If this red-winged blackbird could read news reports, it might decide to stay out of the South...and Sweden. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The thousands of red-winged blackbirds that turned up dead on New Year’s Eve in Beebe Arkansas may have originated in Iowa, the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald reports:

Iowa’s red-winged blackbirds commonly migrate south, where they live in communal roosts numbering hundreds of thousands or even millions of birds.

The Arkansas incident, coupled with subsequent mass bird deaths in Louisiana and now Sweden have puzzled and captivated news consumers across the country and the globe. 

In Louisiana, a flock of some 450 birds – a mix of red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, grackles and starlings – fell dead on Monday. Investigators speculate that the birds became startled, hit a power line and dropped down onto Louisiana Highway 1, only to be run over by cars.

Today in in Falkoeping, Sweden between 50 and 100 jackdaws were found dead for still unknown reasons.

And as for the Arkansas incident, the New York Daily News reports that a storm is to blame for the birds’ deaths, as well as the deaths of 100,000 dead fish that washed ashore from the Arkansas River.

Back in 1882, Dubuque had its own weird phenomenon of animals falling from the sky, the Telegraph-Herald reports.

On June 16 of that year, the city was pelted with live frogs that had frozen inside hailstones.

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