Mass animal deaths scrutinized as Google map cites numerous incidents
The deaths of 5,000 blackbirds in Arkansas is one of several recent instances of mass animal deaths across the world.
January 7th, 2011
01:06 PM ET

Mass animal deaths scrutinized as Google map cites numerous incidents

Five thousand blackbirds in Arkansas. One hundred pelicans near Jacksonville, North Carolina. Three hundred doves in Italy. Seventy bats in Tucson, Arizona. Thousands of fish in Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brazil and the United States.

Google is now hosting a map of incidents of mass animal deaths around the world. Google Maps' distinctive blue balloons indicate where the deaths took place. Click on a balloon, and the map provides you with a link to a news report on the incident.

As of Friday afternoon, there were about 30 cases pinpointed on the search engine's mapping site, most of them in the U.S. and Europe.

Some might say it's getting spooky - and not just by conspiracy theorist standards - but experts tell CNN Radio that theories of UFOs and secret government weapons are, naturally, far-fetched.

In the case of the Arkansas blackbirds, wildlife buffs have said that a loud noise or other event may have precipitated the blunt-force trauma that killed the birds. Of all the notions about their deaths, Susie Kesielke, curator of birds at the Los Angeles Zoo, believes the theory that fireworks startled the birds is the most plausible.

“Blackbirds roost communally in the wintertime, and they sleep more soundly than most animals,” Kesielke said, adding that the birds were shocked awake and extremely disoriented.

Jonathan Sleeman, director of the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, said his office has investigated 16 mass bird deaths in the past 20 years.

“This is a bit unusual but not unique,” he explained. “Most of the cases involved pesticides or poison ingested by the birds, but trauma has also been found to be the cause of mass bird deaths."

Good to know experts aren't buying that Armageddon is upon us. Offering even more comfort is the blog Universe Today, which suggests that the deaths aren't so much strange as they are "a symptom of the digital age where news travels faster than you can say, 'The End is Nigh.' "

It cites a Time magazine article that details several strange mass animal deaths and wonders "if the internet age allows us to connect the dots where there are none to be connected."

As for connecting dots, the blog suggests that the map on Google could be laid on top of a "current global oil exploration map to test the hypothesis that the deaths could have been caused by ground-penetrating tomography."

In any case, it seems level heads are prevailing for now - at least until scads of humans succumb to spontaneous combustion.

“Until the sky turns red and there’s a plague of locusts, this event is not that unusual,” Sleeman said of the blackbirds.

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Filed under: Animals • Arkansas • Google • Science • Technology
soundoff (748 Responses)
  1. Chase

    Links please.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. T-MAN

    I can't stop from laughing at most of these comments. Everything from fireworks to Klingon war ships. Thank you cnn readers you have made my boring friday at work just that much better!

    January 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • HaHa..

      Does IT know you are spending this much time online?

      January 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • T-MAN

      Im the boss. So I'm pretty sure that grants me permission to slack off for an hour or two on a Friday. lol

      January 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. thaddeus

    How many of you force your eyes shut to what is really happening here? Seeing they would't see, hearing they will not hear. Despite what you believe, it doesn't matter. Your belief doesn't affect Truth. It cant. I can say I'm invisible all day, but all I do is still open for everyone to see. Perception is not reality. These articles will continue to claim all is well and ends ok, if we would change our ways. How much time did you think He would give us? This world had a set time. That time is quickly running out.. Behold I see a Man like the Son of God. And He approaches, He is even at the door... Pray my brothers in God for our salvation. For the great and terrible day of the Lord approaches

    January 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • T-MAN

      Wow, after all that science has taught us. You still believe that once upon a time, long ago a man built a ginormous ark and some how managed to gather two of everything on earth and stuff it in there. Riiiiight. Lets see you do that today. I bet you dont even get close to 1/100 of all the different species.

      January 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Y.J.

      to do world....

      It's warning sound to all of us. IS DYING BIRDS AT THE EMPTY SKY UNUSUABUT BUT NOT UNIQUE? No way,...
      It's incredibly unthinkable nor extremely crazy thing. Plus, not in one country but all around the world.
      I..... personall....can't make the sense what scients and curator of birds said.
      They even know the fact but all tells lie in one voice. IT just ordinary occurence. Then, why didn't dying birds in sky happen in recently? IF that is too ordnary, why did a thousands of people go crazy about this fact?
      For me who doesn't believe religion at all............... It is just shock. ......
      Now,I have little thought about having religion.............

      January 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      Amen!! I know thats right! People are so ignorant these days..others are foolish..I'm glad i'm saved!! If people were smart they wouldn't let the devil deceive them...

      January 8, 2011 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chase

    @Human: Oh, and your "blood rain" in India happens to be normal rain, colored with the abundant native alge belonging to the genus Trentophila

    January 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Truthwillsetyoufree

    Sounds like our own government testing on humans again. They don't have the dose up enough yet.... (its happened many times before)

    January 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chase

    But I suppose God put the alge in the rain?

    January 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chase

    Shows what you can learn when you read something besides the Bible.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. POMYGAS

    Here's the way I see it. Don't look for the cause just yet. Trace back what they have in common with each other ie migration routes, food source, water, etc. Then you can connect the dots.

    if they looked like they ran into something, they should be all bunched up right? Look at schools of fish and flocks of birds, they are made to evade prey- and hard things that kill them, one two are always the outliners that get killed or eaten, but not thousands.

    If all else fails call Jessie Ventura.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • K

      pet detective? oh no wait, thats Ace

      January 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chase

    Also, intelligent design is credible because it has the word intelligent in it, God is God because he says so therefore he's God, and by golly, there's a book that corroborates his story, and all tables have four legs, all cows have four legs, therefore all tables are cows. I win .

    January 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JC1988

    When I looked at the google map I noticed that everything follows a major body of water, even the ones on the inland U.S. roughly follow the Mississippi River... Is it possible that it has something to do with the oil spill or all the stuff they dumped into the water to get rid of it? I'm sure it's been discussed but I didn't read all of the posts and it's just an off handed observation.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @JC1988, You're mistaken. The pin locations are inaccurate and repeated. The only events that can definitively be said to be related to major bodies of water are the fish kills, which is a bit obvious.

      January 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chase

    @Jenna: So are you saying that Jesus pur the alge in the water?

    January 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chase

    put* my bad, lol.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    The map is useless. Most of the events are repeated several times on the map. Various locations link to the exact same event.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HaHa...

    People are funny. The world will come to an end, but we will never know when. It will be a surprise! So stop your speculations and empty theories and just live life to the fullest. Live like tomorrow will be your last day. Let those that believe in God continue in their faith and let those that believe in human scholars continue... In the end, it will not matter. In the end we will see who was right and who was wrong.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • K

      i like surprises

      January 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      and alot of people that are wrong are going to be in hell...you dont wanna be one of those people do you? If I were you I wouldn't be joking about this...if the rapture were to come and people were disapearing would you joke about that too??? wow..is crazy how foolish people are these days 😦

      January 8, 2011 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chase

    Because if I were God, and just go with me on this, and had his flair for the theatrical, I wouldn't aim to decieve. Right? I mean I'm the supreme being, why put red alge in the water as to emulate blood, when I could just as easily make it real blood. If this is Gods plan, I'll bet my acceptance into heaven on a chess match.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      you think going to heaven or not is a game??? I feel so sorry for you 😦

      January 8, 2011 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
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