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. larry barker

    God always gives warnings before He passes judgement. Just like Moses told pharoh let My people go . He refused and a plague came of locust,flies,frogs,snakes. These are signs of the times to let the world know Jesus is coming. What God starts He finishes. No man or science or terrorist or government can explain what God is doing. Only those who know God .
    Lift up your face salvation is coming.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      God is warning us by killing small flocks of random birds and a school o fish? That's the warning? Of what, that if we don't start persecuting gays like the good book says (it doesn't) then we are going to get our internet taken away? Seems like a pretty weak warning so I'm not real concerned if we don't obey. Gimme a break. Improbable does not mean "supernatural". Let's see some towers of fire, cities obliterated, people turning to salt, seas parting, etc. Then you may be able to convince the rest of us that something supernatural and religious is happening.

      January 8, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • myklds

      @rob..are you sure? you'll be convinced? REALLY??!!Sorry but I doubt it. Even Jesus will appear and let you or (atheist)people like thrust your finger to his palm which was pierced by nail, apparently you will still shout "HOAX", I bet my house on it.

      January 8, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • triedandtrue

      @larry barker – that is true, but we also have to remember that God also hardens the hearts of those who refuse to believe – even though there are signs (perhaps these mass deaths are part of them – perhaps not, but there are other signs present) and the signs will be increasing, they will not believe. What does the bible say about scoffers? 2Peter 3:3 "Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires." and Jude 1:18 “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” Now, I will not go as far as to say all of the non-believers are evil or doing what man perceives as evil (God may disagree, but that's His call). Many fall into the "good person" category and try to do the right things in life, but as a believer knows, that is not good enough (again, that's God's call on what happens with them). Often, the signs are for the believers – warning that more is to come – for us not to sleep, but pay attention. Just as the bible warns us of the warnings. Those who don't believe will not see – even when it becomes very, very obvious that it is upon us.

      January 8, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Thompson

      Hey, I was really good this year and I didn't get anything from Santa, what's with that?

      January 9, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      @ larry barker...AMEN BROTHER!! thats the best answer up here!!! GOD BLESS YOU 😀

      January 9, 2011 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Your Avergae Christian


      January 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jules43

    It was funny at first, to watch news agencies bank on public fear by publishing misleading stories following the creepy Arkansas incident. But this is just plain irresponsible and immoral. Shame on you, Google.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Phil, Ohio

    The map link here doesn't show what they are taking about, just shows a normal Google Map.

    January 8, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dang

      A conspiracy by Google to make you click on thier link???

      January 8, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. George

    It was Osama bin Laden. Or Sadam Hussein. Oh, no, I know, it was Ahmedinajad, for sure. No, no, the birds were Muslim birds and their death was a failed mass terrorist attack. :))

    January 8, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. it dont matter

    human way waste your time with unbelivers they or all god haters i to used to be like you but the time for
    talk is over and yes no man no the hour the day the time not even the son of god i tryed to help them
    but they call evil good and good evil it is me i am son aman

    January 8, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Thompson

      please seek help, there is help for you...all you have to do is go the the emergency room and ask for help, there are loving people there for you

      January 9, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. it dont matter

    human i will reply to you love i will help you but them i hate and i will hate who i hate and love who i love
    i am that i am son aman

    January 8, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. Skrupie

    Could there be a connection between the change in the magnetic field or whatever it is that has caused airports to close and these die offs? Has anyone explored that possibility?

    January 8, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • IraIgnisia

      Yes, I thought that may have been it from the beginning, coupled with the solar storms. The sun is going nuts with geomagnetic storms this year. I have been fallowing it and doing my own research. Being rased around scads of scientist has helped. They are all freaked. The magnetic feild and the geomagnetic storms are causing it alright. I'm being told to prepare myself for the loss of my electricity and to stay in temperate areas. Scientists aren't goign to say anything because, if you hadn't noticed, you are all already acting terrified. Imagine what would happen if it was all let out in the open? Mass panic. The whole world would go nuts and we would start killing each other in the process. I beg all, I don't care what your veiws are. Save up food, and water. prepair yourselves for loss of electricity. Be safe. No matter if you think the rapture will take you, or you think this is all in passing. Be safe! Either way! The human race can live through this. We just have to remember how to addapt to things instead of things having to addapt to us.

      January 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tj

    The bats in Tucson were discovered to have been shot with a BB gun. No conspiracy, just some idiotic kid with a new BB gun for XMAS that is in BIG trouble. AZ Daily Star article:

    January 8, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Richie

    I have an idea. A respectable news source should do a research study covering the last 25 – 50 years and list time, date, location and brief summary of all mass animal deaths, This has to be in a database somewhere. If this is a common global occurrence – animals dying en masses around the world all the time – then we know it is normal and our increased reporting and communication abilities allow us to connect dots that do not exist. But, if this is indeed rare we know we have a problem.

    January 8, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I can't imagine that mass animal death is rare. I think it is great that we have computers now and can see how human actions can have an impact on the planet and all the other creatures on it. It makes sense to me that there are plenty of animal deaths. They die from being exposed to chemicals. They are hit by cars routinely. They are killed by viruses, sucked into airplane engines, shot by psychotic kids with bb guns, poisoned by oil spills, blown up in wars, starved by over-fishing, starved as a result of the melting ice-caps, and the list goes on and on. How often do you hear about wales washing up on shore? This is a direct result of the human race's desire to make things easier for the human race. It is not due to the 2nd coming. It's due to our own irresponsibility.

      January 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry

    Friday evening hundreds of blackbirds landed in the parking lot of Kroger's in Conroe ,Tx . They were being smashed by the cars and people had to walk around them coming out of the store. It was like they were all drunk. What the heck is going on?

    January 8, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. Erika

    I think I know what's happening. The Anti-christ has come and he's in the shape of Sarah Palin and if she gets elected the world is doomed!

    January 8, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • whyioughta

      Yes! Finally someone is making sense! 😉

      January 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reggie

      LOL funny. The world would indeed end if she became President. However as she does not resemble any kind of prophet, she can't be considered a false one. Obama however... during the 2008 election people really acted as though he were some kind of savior. He once triggered applause just by blowing his nose.

      January 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tali-wacker

    there have been 9 unexplained deaths of deer, in a town outside of Youngstown OH, in the past two days. All were found near a water source ( stream). The rest of the stream has yet to be searched for the possibility of more dead deer. Still waiting on the test results of the water, and the deer.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Dang

      Isn't that where you been getting your drinking water?

      January 8, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Tali-wacker

      @ Dang, i have been woundering, if it is the water. What is in the well water that supplies these near by homes??

      January 8, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Al Berry

    Look at the map, then switch to SAT mode, now look on a global level...does that not look like ocean currents, where the deaths are...if you put the point of origin at the Gulf of me it looks like it traveled across the Atlantic, and across the Pacific, nowthats the reason why theres so many deaths in South, and South Eastern, coast of North America..
    what im saying is this is all fro the oil spill in the gulf, and were starting to see the flow of pollutants globally...and its affecting the birds and not an expert, but when u look at the map, and the most deaths are in the Gulf'ish and and the rest of the deaths lay on the global ocean currents

    January 8, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Carlos

    Looking at that google map, the majority of the animal deaths in the US looks to be around the gulf coast. This could be fallout from the oil spill.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Al Berry

      carlos look at the post above you,lol

      January 8, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Dang

      Or that most of the birds have flown South for the winter and that's why we're not seeing many inceidents up North.

      January 8, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. TK

    I can't believe people will go to such lengths about how the world is ending because of fish and birds dying off. if you wan't to relate mass death to Armageddon, lets go back 70ish years to the 31 Million plus *human* deaths during WWII.

    I believe there is a problem yes, but it has to do with carbon emmissions, unnatural methane release due to mining, and just the over all ecological footprint that each human being demands in an overpopulated world.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
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