Dead birds fall from the sky in Arkansas, fish deaths reported worldwide. What is going on?

Officials are still trying to determine exactly what caused nearly nearly 3,000 red-winged blackbirds to tumble from the Arkansas sky on New Year's Eve.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011; 12:49 PM

After a spate of unusual animal deaths, Melissa Bell asks the inevitable question, are we seeing the beginning of the Aflockalypse?

Dozens dead in Sweden, hundreds washed ashore in New Zealand. Is the world witnessing the end of days or is this just a case of coincidence fueled by wild speculation?

Ever since residents of Beebe, Ark., woke up on New Year's Day to thousands of blackbirds that had dropped mysteriously from the sky, other sudden animal deaths have been reported furiously around the world. In a nearby Arkansas town, thousands of fish washed ashore on Monday. On Tuesday, another 500 blackbirds were found dead in Baton Rouge, La.

Then the story went international. Sweden reported dozens of birds falling out of the sky and New Zealand reported hundreds of dead snapper washing ashore. The Chesapeake Bay has 2 million fish estimated dead.

Does this mean the Christian group spreading the word that the end is nigh -- very, very nigh -- is correct? The group's date for Judgment Day: May 21, 2011.

As AP reported most of the bird deaths occurred around Beebe, Arkansas, whose mayor was quick to laud the cleanup effort underway:

Mike Robertson, the mayor in Beebe, told The Associated Press the last dead bird was removed about 11 a.m. Sunday in the town about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock. He said 12 to 15 workers, hired by the city to do the cleanup, wore environmental-protection suits for the task.

(VIDEO: Bizarre bird mystery puzzles Arkansas officials)

The Capital Weather Gang was on hand to discuss the widely discussed theory that lightning caused the deaths, reporting that:

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is reporting the birds likely died as a result of booming noise, perhaps fireworks, in central Arkansas Friday. The noise may have incited a bird frenzy causing them to fly into houses and trees. The WSJ story states storms weren't in the area when the birds died. On the other hand, the radar shows storms departing the region between 9 and 10 p.m. central time. The birds reportedly started falling from the sky around 11 p.m.

There is a precedent for lightning-related bird deaths in Arkansas. According to the Associated Press, lightning killed ducks at Hot Springs in 2001 and hail knocked birds from the sky at Stuttgart in 1973 on the day before hunting season.

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