You simply cannot swing a dead stork without hitting a story about the recent, mass, unexplained bird and fish die-off in Arkansas around New Year's. This story is in constant flux, so here's what we know of late.
About 5,000 birds, mostly blackbirds, fell dead from the sky in the town of Beebe, Arkansas. Then approximately 125 miles to the west, thousands of fish washed up dead on the shore of the Arkansas River. Only the drum fish species was affected. That pretty much rules out a pollutant as a cause. Then it just kept getting better...
More dead birds showed up just to the south in Louisiana. Cue eerie music.
Wildlife officials ran tests on the corpses of the birds in Arkansas. No sign of disease or toxic contamination was found. The birds were healthy. Well, except for the fact that they were pulverized internally by some form of blunt force trauma. What could cause this?
The publicly affirmed explanation is that the deaths were caused by loud noises from New Year's Eve fireworks. No, I'm not making that up. Click the link. While I don't like to consider myself a conspiracy nut, I do know manure when I smell it. If this is the case, then why don't we hear about this sort of thing every 4th of July? Perhaps it does occur and I'm not aware of it. If so, then wildlife conservation organizations have a new matter to contend with and we should reconsider the use of fireworks in any capacity (fine by me.) Still, the "loud noise" explanation does not account for the mass death of the fish. And why blackbirds? Blackbirds are normally holed up together in enormous roosts this time of year, especially in the South. They seldom fly in the dead of night. They might sing, but not fly. Yeah, little Beatles reference there. Sorry. Still "on the stylistic jazz" from yesterday's post.
As you might imagine, there is conspiracy talk. There are those that say it was caused by the testing of a weather control device, something like HAARP perhaps.
MUFON is bringing the UFO angle to things. Explanations that members of that community have offered include alien signals messing with bird navigational instincts and birds smacking into UFOs rendered invisible by cloaking devices. If you've seen the movie Signs (and if you haven't, you absolutely should), you get the idea.
Of course there are your 2012 and Biblical "end of the world" proclamations. But we have it on high authority that that isn't the case. Seriously. CNN went out and found Kirk Cameron for a comment on the matter. Just glad he was available to help make sense of it all.
Given the state of the birds' internal organs, it has also been proposed that the military or the "shadow government" tested a sonic weapon or perhaps a new biological warfare device. Not quite as crazy as it sounds. Pine Bluff Arsenal, the Army's Chemical Materials Agency, is located in Arkansas. Arrowhead Assault Strip is also nearby in Fort Smith. Mere coincidence? Maybe. But here's where the plot sickens according to conspiracy theorists.
John Wheeler, an ex-Pentagon official, was recently found murdered in a New Jersey landfill. He was last seen alive on December 29th, 2010 and appearing terribly disoriented. His body was found about 14 hours later. There is talk that Wheeler was once involved with the development of bio-chemical weapons. I have been unable to find a source to certify this that doesn't look like it might as well be The Weekly World News, but there it is anyway. The word round the conspiracy campfire is that he was going to spill the beans on the Arkansas test...and got rubbed out for it.
What do I think? Personally, I'm calling "b.s." on the fireworks theory. I also think that the death of a former Pentagon official such as Wheeler, an especially odd death it would seem, is highly suspect. But the bird die off need not be from any of these exotic, conspiratorial mechanics. It might have happened as the result of our own detrimental impact on the environment. That, if you ask me, is every bit as insidious as the other man-made possibilities. And what will we do? Probably watch as the skies and the oceans die, say "aw that's terrible," and then hop back into our SUVs to drive off. We're caretakers of this world. I wonder when or if we will ever come to realize that?
So are there going to be more bird and fish deaths? Yet more have been found in just the past two days in Sweden, Brazil, and Kentucky. Maryland has just seen a die-off of about 5 million fish in Chesapeake Bay. Unrelated? Probably. More to come as our environment worsens? Probably.
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