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. boocat

    We're next!

    January 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • wAkE uP

      chemical trials ... from commerical airlines

      January 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ...

      sure this never happened before several times without today's huge TV coverage??? 🙂

      January 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chairmanbuzz

      Its not natural for this to be all around the same time. Something is up and blunt force trauma is not natural no matter what the so-called experts say. Conspiracy theories are in order this time...

      January 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ...

      maybe ... aliens death rays? ... 🙂 ...
      or ... the billions of barrels of BP's oil leaked in the ocean few months ago? ...

      January 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Fooled

      Who are they trying to fool? Fireworks! Give me a break! There are only a few possiblities that make sense. 1- Gases leaking from the Earths crust (This makes the most sense). 2- Birds ran into a cloaked Romulan Warship. 3- McDonalds is trying out some new items on their menus the new McBlackbird and the McDrumfish or Arkansas found out the birds didn't have their Green Cards and were here illegally.

      January 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • enricorosan

      YUP !

      January 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ireland

      The First Born are next......

      January 8, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. Keksi


    January 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anonymous

    Who are these mystery "experts" that always discount more unusual theories.

    Also, the firework theory has a major hole. If that was the cause, wouldn't there be massive deaths every July 4th?

    January 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • christie

      There aren't mass groups of blackbirds roosting together in the summer, this is a winter event.

      That being said, I still would test for chemicals and pesticides.

      January 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • 11:11

      I think if it had been from fireworks, we would have more historical accounts of this happening. The birds alone, I would say, could have been fireworks...but, this is global and within days of each other. Not buying the "official" explanation. Besides... the fire works would not be detonating in the trees or power lines where these birds were roosting. There is something very wrong with this picture IMO.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankie

      Reread the article. It states that the birds in question sleep more soundly in winter, and winter fireworks are not as common as July 4th fireworks.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      Ok, then wouldn't this happen every Dec. 31?
      I'm pretty sure they tested for pesticides and poisoning.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      I meant to say that actually here in Arkansas we shoot them on New Year's Eve all the time. It freaking smells like gun powder in my redneck neighborhood on New Year's Day.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Curious

      @11:11 – interesting moniker you have. What's the story there?

      January 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kynsie

      Abd wouldn't there be more than 1 species in all these deaths?

      January 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Why cant we see that part of this is a terrorist attack. The US government has known about this and has/is slowly warning individuals for over 3 weeks, now.
    This plot was uncovered over a month ago in PA.
    Why can the press help people out and warn them about this so this does not harm people?

    January 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Mamma

      You are right. Al Qaeda hates blackbirds!

      January 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frankie

      Please put your tinfoil hat back on your head and resume your mumbling.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gibberish

      I'm glad that the government has been warning us for three months but they really should be warning the real targets... the birds!!!!!

      January 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • mo-reenie

      I always read but never comment. I had to on this one because, damn, some of you are funny!!! I can't stop laughing about the "Al Qaeda hates blackbird" and the "Tin foil hats" comments are crackin me up. Nothing like a little comic relief as I wait for the world to end.

      January 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Time to start hoarding water and non-perishable foods people.

      January 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ted

    How about the 10,000 dead Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan??

    January 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • USED

      man that happened a year ago, thus i would have to say, NOT related, tragic yes, but it was something else for them.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • HG

      Did anyone hear anything about the deaths of 80 or so gazelles in Africa.. I heard it on the news yesterday now I cant find ANYTHING about it... Cover up or what?

      January 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Faye

    Lunar eclipse - does that equal the sky turning red?


    January 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lady2Jimmy

    @ A i agree with you and every 4Th of july it dont happen so what'S really going on in the world that they not tellin us ummm i think that we have the right to know what'S going On in this world £

    January 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steve s

    maybe all of these birds/fish have come into contact with the oil from the bp oil spill in some way and now its affecting populations of them around the world?

    January 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • USED

      close, well i believe, I think it would more likely have to do with the dispersant that they used to mask the size of the spill! That stuff is one of the most toxic chemicals on earth :/ or so i am reading

      January 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam I am

      If it was poisoning from oil it would not make them drop from the sky ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Plus initial tests shows they suffered trauma not illness.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rosiepose

    Try thinking HAARP......................possible explanation of bird and fish deaths?

    and don't be so gullible with all the phony explanations to keep secrets!!

    January 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      HARRP is an excellent possibility. As are several weapon systems being tested today....just pick up an issue of Military & Aerospace Electronics to have your eyes opened.

      January 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dang

      I used to play the HARP (and Harmonica) in my school band, and I never saw birds falling out of the sky when I played (just parents covering thier ears).

      January 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    HAARP. First they used it on the weather now animals. U don't hear any concern about it from the government.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jamal Brown, Detroit, MI

    GOOGLE is NOT mapping this. This is a user created map in GOOGLE. Anyone can create their own map.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      yeah, it's probably also a google press release and a google attempt to capitalize on a bunch of dead birds and stuff.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamal Brown, Detroit, MI

      Looks like the fixed the text!

      January 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nate C

    What about the 100,000,000,000,000 dead microbes that are dying on kitchen counters and soap dispensers every *DAY*? OMG its a conspiracy. Or an alien invasion...not sure which.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • myklds

      @nate..are you one of those microbes? I'm glad you survived, my deepest symphaty for the untimely passing of your love ones, relatives, friends and all fellow microbes that part of those 100,000,000,000,000 that wasn't able to make it.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate C

      Thanks for your sympathy, but no big deal...I've been reproducing like mad the past few days, and now have a hundred billion more friends. Mark Zuckerberg has nothing on me.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      You microbes need to go back to microbia or whereever you came from and quit taking jobs away from hard-working American.

      January 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps


      January 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Redd2

    A test run for chemical warfare and the government knows it........

    January 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark C

    It just illustrates the principle that if you start noticing something, it'll seem to happen more often. Particularly if you're a tinfoil hat wearing nutjob to start out with.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Christy Roark

    I dont belive it was fireworks or any of that nonsense.I think that nobody knows whats really going on & If they do they arent gonna tell us the truth!

    January 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • janetrmarin

      What about the BP oil spill? They dumped tons of dispersments that were very hazardous. The dispersments may have killed the fish and evaporated to kill the birds.

      January 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
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