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

    I would even start down a queen, or both bishops. God can choose.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. endisnigh

    except that China is actually experiencing a plague of locusts..lol.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peter Griffin

    You know there is a simple explananation. Oh, you havent heard? ........BBBbird, bird , bird the bird is the word!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Guest

    Has anyone checked if seismic activity in the earths crust may have caused any of these occurances ? Checking the map there seems to be clusters around fault lines.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chase

    Oh, and locust plagues are nothing special. Locusts breed rapidly in certain conditions, the food supply runs short, so they migrate and eat everything they can on the way. Nothing especially interesting about a swarm of locusts in china.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chase

    But God makes them swarm, right? And its up to his followers to determine when its a sign from God, or just Locusts doing what they naturally do after over breeding. He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy! lol.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      you are sooo confused!! and foolish too.....the locusts that will one day come are gonna be AFTER the rapture takes place..not before..and these arent regular locusts..if you read the book of revalation it describes how they will be..they will sting like scorpions and men will want to die but wont be able to..they will be tormented..it will last for like 5 months..and YES JESUS IS LORD!!! how dare you joke about all this..the devil is really deceiving you.. 😦

      January 8, 2011 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      the locusts will be shaped like horses ready for battle with the face of a man and hair like a woman and teeth like a lion and their wings will sound like chariots with many horses running into battle and they will have breastplates of iron and crowns of something like gold..and tails like scorpions with stings...they will come from the bottomless pit..you dont believe me..read it..revelation 9:7-12...so why would you wanna joke around with god's wrath...youre crazy! :/

      January 8, 2011 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ecoherbalism

    OMG fireworks or storms blamed for the deaths? This article is a perfect example of irresponsible journalism. Anyone with common sense can't tell you what this is but they can for sure that it doesn't have anything to do with such non-sense like storms or fireworks.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Hear hear! It's obviously the work of Satan's twelfth demonica circle, which as any member of the Kansas School Board knows, has been conducting alien communication expirements using perpetual magnetic power pyramid cyclonic generators at exactly the spots shown on Google maps. I verified it myself on the Webbernets. Why can't these journalists get it right?!?

      January 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • brucer

      I can't believe fireworks did this to those birds, if so why don't we have large bird kills on the 4th of July?? Thunderstorms with lightening, there wouldn't be no birds would be left alive. have no ideal why they died but could it be that the earth is changing about 40miles ayear true north could that be a reason??

      January 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Gotta love a DB like Fred, no clue about whats happening in the world. Believes whatever the government shovels at him.

      January 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldguy

      Lee: Fred was not being serious...

      January 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randel

      Has anyone went hunting out there you firer into a cubby of quial they dont all die of heart attacks or you throw fireworks in the trees to scare birds out of them they dont all die the fly away, Has anyone looked into the water pollution that the gas drilling companies in philidelphia PA are doing with all the fracking waste water they are dumping in the rivers it has radium and biridium in it these birds follow the coast as they head south feeding on the cattails it kill livestock and wildlife I really dont believe its the fireworks at all read up on it philidelphia water treatment radium its all there

      January 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • GenericCereal

      Right!! You're exactly right. Anyone with common sense can tell you this isn't fireworks. Also, the world is obviously flat since we can walk on it without falling over. Stupid scientists and their years of education and research. This is America. If it isn't tangibly verifiable to even the biggest moron among us, it's obviously bullsh– or a government conspiracy.

      January 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alana

      I really don't know what happened to these animals, and nor do I really care. Really think it has been made into too big a deal.

      But how are fireworks not possible? I hate being startled awake by loud noises. Could you imagine being a bird asleep in a tree and being startled awake by loud noises. That would be very disorientating enough without a few thousand other birds doing the same thing. Of course there would be trauma to them... they would be flying into each other and another things and crashing into the ground.

      Again, I don't know what happened, but it IS possible.

      January 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Too bad it wasn't a flock of Alanas..

      January 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Average Atheist

      Hurray, Hurray, Hurrah !

      Satan is coming, Satan is coming !.. I don't have to hear any more damn dribble from christian neighbors, christians on tv, christians on radio, christians on street corners, right wing christians, daily christian emails.....

      Oh my bollix, I can't wait for this. I'm getting goose bumps thinking about it. No more wars where people kill people over beliefs in their gods.

      Who the hell wants to go to heaving and hang out with a bucnh of bible banging weirdos. Take me straight to hell, where I will at least know people. Cmon , Cmon, I'm getting giddy. Lets' get this trip movin. See ya, suckers.

      January 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      @lee gee Lee, get a clue.

      January 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coloradoguy

      I second the athiest. These religious people drive me nuts. If everyone on earth took the easy way out and just decided they were going to some heaven no one would get anyrthing done.

      January 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • deek

      Bs to the fullest. Media is sooo full of sh!t these days. Of course loud noises surely was the cause of the fish, and the bats, oh wait and the pelicans, but only in certain parts of the world, at different times, come on. These mass animal deaths are not unusual my jolly green @ss. Stop s#!tt!ng on middle America, telling them It's hailing.

      January 8, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • pcvcolin

      No matter what people believe I encourage you to take a look at Psalm 78 at
      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+78&version=NIV – especially the part beginning with verse 26 where it talks about "birds like sand on the seashore." It has happened before and it will happen again, we are periodically given reminders to be good neighbors to others, to be better stewards of the world, and to repair our relationship with God.

      January 8, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      What bugs me is they are saying it's either fireworks or Armageddon, and obviously it's not the end of the world, so that settles it. PLEASE there are more options out there with scientific explanations. But telling us that fireworks is causing all of this is just plain idiotic.

      January 8, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. bill

    ever notice that all the black bird deaths are at the upper end of larger bodies of fresh water lakes, inlet ends, hmmm

    January 7, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chase

    And you can google the work of Nikola Tesla. But shy away from anything that says conspiracy in it before you find more cridible info. conspiracies are always interesting though. like Grown up fairy tales. most of them anyways.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. black dude

    Its in the water folks I telling you its in the water don't drink it or you might be next

    January 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chase

    @black dude: wait, you're telling me that if people from Arkansas drink their water... they could be next... and raise our National average I.Q. by at least 6 points? Hmmmm....

    January 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    No one brought up the fact that the area where the blackbirds died had a new chemical start up in 2008. But scared to death by fireworks on New Years vs July 4th is a job saving explanation.

    January 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJAColorado

      Yeah, if it were fireworks, then why wouldn't we hear about mass bird deaths every new years and fourth of july? I don't buy into any conspiracy theories yet, but that explanantion doesn't hold up if you ask me.

      January 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*2Tim315

      Shouldn't we put the blame on the shoulders of man? After all, it is not God who is destroying the planet. He made it then he gave it to mankind.

      January 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TPCAN

    The Google map shows Pelican deaths in North Carolina, but it has already been found to be caused by humans cutting or shooting the birds. Has anyone actually checked the validity of these events?

    January 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. holysh!t_its2011

    The dead bats in Arizona were the result of some idiot teeneagers and a bb gun

    January 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chase

    It!s a user created map, Google is claiming nothing.

    January 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
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