What made thousands of birds fall from the sky?
Officials estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 similar red-winged blackbirds fell out of the sky.
January 3rd, 2011
10:41 AM ET

What made thousands of birds fall from the sky?

It has become one of the strangest stories to come out of the New Year and one of the most puzzling for scientists and local officials: Just what caused 5,000 birds to fall from the sky just before midnight New Year's Eve in Beebe, Arkansas?

As news of the story spread across the globe, so did speculation about what caused the Hitchcockian scene. And as officials wait for the official necropsy (animal autopsy) report, we're taking a look at some of the theories that officials and scientists have suggested.


Karen Rowe, an ornithologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the incident is not that unusual and is often caused by a lightning strike or high-altitude hail. This theory could hold in this case, she said, especially because a strong storm system moved through the state earlier Friday.

Keith Stephens, a spokesman for the commission, told Reuters that storm weather, including hail or lightning, could be the culprit, but so far, he had yet to see any sign of injury on birds that were collected.

Rowe told Live Science that events like this have happened across the globe, and generally, weather is to blame. She said birds have been swept up and moved when caught up in hurricanes, wind can force them into a large object like a cliff, or large groups of birds can clash and crash in heavy fog, killing them.


On CNN's "American Morning," Stephens told Kiran Chetry and Jim Acosta that in addition to weather, local New Year's Eve celebrations may be to blame.

"We're leaning towards maybe a stress event," he said.

Stephens said revelers, "possibly shooting some fireworks while the birds were roosting," could have scared them, causing trauma.

"That could have been what caused their deaths," he said.

But birds don't fall out of the sky whenever there are fireworks, so what makes this event different? Stephens said that in rural areas, birds can be more concentrated. And if fireworks were set off near them in a roosting area while they were sleeping, such a trauma could have killed them.

Poisoning or disease

Rowe said it wasn't likely that poisoning or another illness could be to blame.

“Since it only involved a flock of blackbirds and only involved them falling out of the sky it is unlikely they were poisoned, but a necropsy is the only way to determine if the birds died from trauma or toxin,” she said in a commission press release.

Officials have also said that because the situation was isolated, and because other groups of the birds in separate areas were not killed, they don't suspect the birds were poisoned.

For reasons similar to why they don't suspect poisoning, officials told Fox 16 in Arkansas that the bird deaths probably aren't related to any kind of disease.

Air toxins

Air tests by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality came back clean for any toxin, KTHV reports.

soundoff (728 Responses)
  1. bowlan

    the earths magnatic ploes have shifted.this has caused the death of fish and birds who use the margetic poles

    January 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • shane hinshaw

      I belive the shifting of magnetic poles. All animals get there sense of direction from distrbution of north and south poles magnetic structure. Caused there directional sense to go haywire and not knowing there direction the flew to high. By doing this when you get high enough the pressure causes you to stop breathing because of that. They just stopped flying passing out and hit the ground some die some live a few short hours before they die.

      October 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goodbye Haarp

      HAARP my friends HAARP is to blame for the deaths of all the birds! Do your research people and stand up against the NWO

      November 11, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mike K.

    It seems to me that many of the bird events occur in a line when viewed on a globe. At least the ones shown on Google Maps.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 00000

    It's the Earth's electromagnetic field, it's out of wack.. The birds/fish follow this field for migration they have little ions in their heads to help navigate them on the Earth's electromagnetic grid.. it's not poison! They ( the governments ) don't want to scare us to what is really going on with your planet

    January 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hopkins

    Mass animal deaths like this are common. They happen all the time. Because of the mass media coverage, other deaths that would have been unnoticed are suddenly being reported on. God does not play games. If we were going to die, he'd come right out and tell us. Anything could have killed these birds, fireworks, hail, the sudden cold, maybe even a shift in the magnetic poles. Birds and fish are sensitive to magnetic fields. But honestly, these events are NOT connected and by no means signal the end of days or apocalypse (or alflockalypse, apocafish, or Oprahacalypse).

    January 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Caitlin

    This all has something to do with the bible. The world is coming to an end, obviously. Around the same period of time, about 100, 000 turtle doves fell in Italy and about 5,000 fell in Louisana. Also , fish has died. Doesn't it bring a thought? THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END ON MAY 21, 2011. SO PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

    January 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mark

    the birds fell just before midnight, so wouldn't the fireworks theory be discounted since the fireworks should go off at midnight and for a few minutes after. The loud noise theory doesn't work for me because we have loud fireworks at least twice a year and hunters make quite a bit of noise too.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sallie

    hello peaples wat is ur name i am mental hahah

    January 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Samara Davis-- Miami FL

    I think that just like the bible says the sparrows will be the first to fall from the sky, and the the rest of the birds will follow. My boyfriend thinks that it is chemical war- fare. I believe in God and Jesus so I believe honestly that we are heading for the end . I love my time on this earth ,but I will be happy when Jesus comes!

    January 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Does anyone think or believe that maybe just maybe, it was done by a Sonic Emitter type weapon in which the DoD and the Military has been testing since the late 1990's? The necropsy performed on the birds showed tissue damage to the from of their chest, which is what would happen when a high level frequency is applied to one of these weapons.

    January 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Elizabeth

    What ever it might be, the government already knows , human beings are very intelligent, and the few or more that does know is probably getting paid millions to keep their mouths shut. Facts 1. birds falling from the sky 2. fish dieing ( all over the world) 3. increase of natural Disasters. 4. bee's disappearing.... The bible says nobody will know when the last day will be..not humans,,,government, ,etc only God himself... so it makes sense to rule out 2012 . So sayin all of that...in my opinion what is this world known for??? Experiments... and what does this world have too many of??? People.... What do we usually do experiments on???? animals ..anyhow i think the goverment is doing experiments to be able to decrease population of humans but is going to use 2012 for a cover up... anyhow like i said humans are very intelligent, their is always going to be that one person out their that figures it out....and this is only my opinion keep that in mind. TRIAL AND ERROR

    January 14, 2011 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. merrycat

    mcat...I think it is one of the signs that were in the last days...we are to be aware of the changes around us..The Lord is coming soon...I don't ever remember this kind of stuff happening in the 50's and 60's .. Its something to pay attention to because there is a change coming....

    January 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      how about this one...the fireworks are bombs. bombs make shockwaves, and let off alot of sulfur, maybe someone had some super fireworks? or sonic boom hit a flock that was migrating and ruptured some internal. reports say the Louisiana birds had internal injuries that caused deadly blood clots.

      January 27, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. Greenspam

    I know... it's called gravity.

    January 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Blake Wells

    i agree just a lil bit with merrycat but ive been getting a few signs lately to along with my friends like......Me and my friend tabitha were outside playing in the snow p.s.(im only 10)and as we were walking back to the house we saw 3 devil stars in the sky and she said their was something about the (3 suns),and my dad and I were on our way home from a movie we saw a weird shaped thing with color inside of it mixed up,and finally on July 4, 2010 their was a circle around the moon which im shore a lot of people saw it and by alot i mean maybe a hundred somethin people saw it

    January 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. b.lee.ve

    this is CLEARLY a case of HAARP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RPc6Lp8iw4 PLEASE NOTE: At 24:18 to 24:22 he says- " you could cause cells to fall apart and then you hemmorage to death ". This is exactly the results of the autopsy on the 5,000 birds that fell from the sky in Arkansas recently. The insides had hemmoraged, been destroyed. And this video was made 1 year ago from the bird death event.

    March 16, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brian

    Whatever came of this story? Does anyone have an update?

    April 25, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28