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. DAVINCIKODE

    'Move along there is nothing to see here'. Those so called experts who dumb down any event with statistical correctness and 'it'a perfectly normal' are starting to loose credibility on the side of many people. Obviously something new is going on here. If it was so normal then how scientists and unimpressive PhDs have so much difficulty in predicting *anything*.
    Now that for sure is a statistic to keep track off, because whenever something unusual event happen, those so called experts start to digg in the past to prove to the public that they are 'with it'. What about looking into the future for once?

    January 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • myklds

      yeah davin...scientists and expert who claims to know what the causes of death or even extinction of animals that existed pre-historically.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • justanopinion

      What do you mean "so called experts"? One of the people sighted is the director of a national wildlife health center, so I think he knows a bit about this than most people. He has been seeing this for the past 20 years so obviously this is not new. But those who want to see a conspiracy will see it anywyere.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • RumBum

      Yeah! Screw these Scientists with their fancy educations! They're always trying to mask the truth with fact! I just learned about this whole thing 5 minutes ago, but I'm gonna go ahead and side with this one dude on the internet who said all these animals been dying because our government is trying to to kill Aliens but they accidentally killed a whole bunch of birds and fish and stuff.
      These so called "experts" who have "dedicated their entire lives" to "research", and put "all their credibility on the line" by making these statements to the media don't make no sense to me!

      January 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • myklds

      So you mean fireworks? Oh I see, it happened last (new)year and every (new) year. And about 16 cases were investigated in twenty years, when did it happen? did it occur during new year or independece day? how many bird dies. DETAILS PLEASE!

      Or maybe you mean trauma? Birds are falling dead from the sky. Try to jump from the top of a 5 storey building, we'll see how much trauma you can get.

      January 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark

    “Until the sky turns red and there’s a plague of locusts, this event is not that unusual,” Why do you have to resort to ridicule? While I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I think that google's effort to get the data and get the information out is good. Too many 'experts' have made pronouncements in the past that have turned out to be wrong. Put the data out there, I'll judge for myself thank-you!

    January 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark C

      It's not in fact Google's "effort" genius. It's just some random idiot. Anybody can create a map on Google.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mit Geek

    Yes the government has known about this threat but has warn all the proper people, http://articles.cnn.com/2010-12-21/us/al.qaeda.poison.plot_1_threat-stream-food-supply-al-qaeda-group?_s=PM:US

    We can rest assured that the poisoning of the animals is only an accident.

    Some of the deaths are weather related.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RAJ

    SOME BODY WANTS PEOPLE CRY. I THINK SOME BODY USE GUN TO TERRORIZE BIRDS AT NIGHT.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • HUH!!?

      SOMEONE WANTS PEOPLE READ, AN RITE, AN UUS PROPER GRAMOR, AND STOP USING CAPS LOK...

      January 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Katy Hill

    I think it's tied in with the earthquakes and volcanice eruptions going on worldwide right now. Maybe some type of toxic gas release through fissures, caverns and vents.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • GayFish

      Is there really earthquakes going on right now? I mean at a more than usual frequency? I'm honestly curious, just because I haven't heard anything about it. But if that's true, that would have to be the most plausible theory I've seen so far...Not to say I completely rule out extra-terrestrial influence.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam I am

      Must be all those volcanoes in Arkansas!

      January 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      I ive in Arkansas, and actually there have been several small earthquakes in recent months, more than usual.. We do live on a faultlline, I'm sure you know, Sam, since you are so darned smart.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • elh13

      There doesn't have to be a volcano present to have an earthquake folks. Fault-lines. There are TONS of them in every pin-pointed area on that map. With all the "Natural Gas" drilling that is being done by Barnet Shale and Chesapeak, it doesn't surprise me one bit.

      January 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SAD WINGS OF DESTINY

    We are in the days of the last man, the earth will shake, the birds fall from the sky, the waters cover the earth and the people lose all prosperity. The violation of woman would be a tool of war in the dark continent. The moon would bleed and the last of the fallen ones would be released from their prisons on earth and take their vengeance on the children of God. The yellow race would rise up as a world power but ultimately destroy themselves through war and the destruction of the waters and soil. The end is here, you know its true, repent and pray.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark C

      Or you could get a life and a job, and move out of your mommy's basement. Your choice.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • trishgal

      LOL so incredibly lame. It's more believable that it was E.T. than the 'end of days' crap.

      January 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • biggeorge22

      End of Days my butt. Get a life, or for that matter an education while you are at it. Chemical's are the most probable cause. Stop being a Sheep and open you eyes to science. Enough with the denial of fact!

      January 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Or you could just do what Mark C does and belittle people. Your choice.

      January 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • myklds

      Fire works, wheather, trauma, chemical or biological warfare,pesticide poison, alien, conspiracy theories etc. all-in just to disregard the possibility of more supreme reason. As Science, logic, and rationale working together to discredit, invalidate and nullify religion.

      Then how these "so called men/women of science who claimed to know the caused of death or extinction of pre-historic creatures could hardly provide a one conclusive finding about the cause of death of these simple and existing animals?

      January 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • disaffected

      "sad wings of destiny" bird pun...sounds fishy to me.

      January 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    It seems plausible that this is somehow related to New Years celebration fireworks. It might be the explosion of the fireworks, as mentioned, but that doesn't explain why the birds would die days later, and not simply on Jan 1, 2011.
    It would be interesting to check with these localities if they had fireworks celebrations and where those took place. Map the fireworks locations with the locations of bird deaths.

    Also, I wonder if there are certain types of fireworks that are more toxic than others. Perhaps the sheer amount of fireworks set off on Jan 1 created noxious clouds of gases that a few flocks unwittingly flew through. Or perhaps the fireworks residue collected in trees where they were roosting?

    January 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • understand this

      so the 10 degree polar shift that already happened has nothing to do with it , and is it not strange that cnn chooses not to report this in their story why it causes one to change the opinion of the over all situation birds act funny when the magnetic polls do thanks

      February 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GayFish

    They know exactly what caused all this. If you honestly think the government isn't hiding something here, you're just naive.

    January 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark C

      Your tinfoil hat is slipping.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • GayFish

      Just because I'm not stupid enough to believe the US Government tells us everything doesn't make me a nutcase. If you do believe our government does not hide things from us, that's just assanine. And if it's something other than natural causes or fireworks (which seems ridiculous to me, sorry), then you better believe they don't want us to know, because people do tend to panic.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • MHouston

      You paranoid Loon! It's blackbirds coming down! Not the government!

      January 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • phildaniel

      it's assange's fault, terrorists are poisoning our air and water.

      January 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • C Mark

      Mark C . . .you seem to know alot about tinfoil hats. hmmm....

      January 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. I understand the mystery

    but the bible commanded me not cast pearls before swine

    January 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • understand this

      it also say judge not less he be judged accordingly

      February 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tam

    Whether it is the contact from the BP oil spill, nuclear warfare, extraterrestrial or the highly likely terroristic threats, there is SOMETHING going on because something like this is NOT normal. Because we live in a place that may or may not always share the most important news with people ( even if it is to keep them calm ) this is something that deserves a little more attention than a 5 minute skit on CNN

    January 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark C

      Congrats on reading the article, genius:

      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."

      January 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DV

    Magnetic fields are shifting which could be impacting migratory animals. This has been coming a while, but never noticeable to the amount it has been within the last week. Tampa airport has had to repaint their runways to account for a 1 degree shift which is unprecedented. Whats next?

    January 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark C

      You have no clue what you're babbling about. The pole isn't shifting any more than it always does, which is about 40 miles a year. It was simply time for Tampa to update its designations.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tam

      actually "genius" it has shifted dramatically. Google it before talking out of your ass

      January 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • GayFish

      Thank you Tam. Mark C ate a bowl of pretentious this morning and is just a little cranky.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • C Mark

      Mark C . . .I think the pole shifted up your a$$, although as you would say – "it's not unusual"

      January 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • disaffected

      mark c is on this...its called compass declination or variation depending on your preferred method of travel i.e. either like birds or fish...air or water if you like. Variation happens all over the world...they just don't paint the changes on runways until required...it's not magic, it's not conspiracy...it's simple earth science.

      January 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • understand this

      thank god someone who has looked at the whole picture

      February 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Raj

    Is this the sign of doomsday! 2012

    January 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • understand this

      maybe, maybe not. however life will change as we understand it

      February 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. no1

    Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, weather you serve Him or not, whether you bless Him, curse him, Love Him, hate Him. He is Lord of your life because GOD has given him the name above every name so that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord. Some of you will bow out of the grace that has been given to you and others will bow because your knee caps will be broken by the One who rules the nations with a rod of iron.

    Repent of your sins and believe the Gospel, Seek Him while He may be found. His promise will not fail. Repent and believe the Gospel and you shall be saved and all those who believe in Him, none will be disappointed.

    January 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark C

      Jesus wants you to move out of your mother's basement and get a job.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gibberish

      What does Jesus have to do with the dead birds? Is he killing them with his iron rod?

      January 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AmNightshamamam

    OMG MARK WALBERG THE HAPPENING CEPT IT'S BIRDS NOT HUMANS.

    January 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. rgvg

    Wonder how long until Goreaphyttes start blaming global warming! anyone see the artical about polar shift causing a fl. airport to close runways? a polar shift could cause the Gulf stream to change its route melting polar caps, sending previously unknown archibacteria to be released from the ice which is toxic to birds-and since Sara Palin is livin' near the n. pole its gotta be a racist republican trick to screw Obama - sounds as good good as any other nutjob idea about the sky falling God help us all

    January 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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