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. kim

    Terrorist. Fireworks ufo whatever it is the dead birds is just creepy strange is this yet another sign of some sort. Yes technology provides data at a faster rate but I doubt that affect the information.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. EM

    This has been happening all the time, for thousands of years. The media just couldn't find a way to milk it to generate advertising revenue from it. Now they can.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dog

    Looks like the government is at it again – experimenting with genetics – locusts shaped like a horse, with the face of a man, hair of a women, teeth like a lion, wings of a bird, tail of a scorpion, p@cker of a pygmie. . .

    January 8, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      thats not the government my friend..those creatures will come from the bottomless need to read the bible..

      January 9, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |

    These are guesses at best. Since everyone is guessing without supporting facts, I think these birds are a good example of the canary in the mine. We are destroying the environment and nature is responding.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. sevas

    What ever is happening, I still have the inclination I'm being completely lied to. Fireworks?! That would mean the 4 of July would be the bird kingdom's holocaust.......... plus they tend to forget that only explains one incident if at all.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Michael

    There are mass animal deaths at slaughterhouses every minute of the day. It's a tragedy that those deaths don't make headlines.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. brad

    lol i saw the religous post. Its funny how every christian generation thinks the second coming is going down in their lifetime. I can personally garantee people will be doing the same thing ten years down the road, quoting revelations and takning a natural disastor as a "sign"

    January 8, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • crystal

      In the last days there will be ridiuclers proceeding according to their own desires saying where is this promised presence of his ? Why from the days our forefathers fell asleep in death all things are continuing exactly as from creation's beginning.

      January 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • crystal

      One of the signs of the last days would be riduclers.

      January 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz cant guarantee nothing..the rapture could come tomorrow..a week..or a year from now..none of us the people who claim to know..they are wrong and obviously they havent read the bible....but you cant deny that these are signs of jesus' return....cause you dont really know...jesus told us believers to pay attention to these signs prior to his coming..and i suggest you read the bible and turn to him so you wont be blinded anymore..and youll have the true answers..unlike these foolish people who think they know more than jesus..

      January 9, 2011 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
    • BS

      How do you personally guarantee THAT? Just a thought.

      January 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. babaelf

    "but experts tell CNN that secret military weapons as an explanation are very far fetched." IS THAT SO? WELL, JUST GOOGLE SCALAR WEAPONS TECHNOLOGY, AS FROM NICOLA TESLA'S EARLY 20TH CENTURY RESEARCH.......

    January 8, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. brian

    i hate black birds....

    January 8, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. T

    The only reason these mass deaths are making news is because they are unusual and therefore news.

    I've been waiting for some expert to trot out the "digital age" explanation and sure enough here it is. I don't believe aliens or whatever caused this, but I believe there is a logical explanation beyond fireworks all the sudden killing animals like they've never done before in history.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. brian

    to those of you who say its from a magnetic feild shift.
    I think we would have relized our compuses where facing the wrong direction so i highly doubt that.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. lol

    @michael you said
    "There are mass animal deaths at slaughterhouses every minute of the day. It's a tragedy that those deaths don't make headlines."
    They do make headlines! I see commercials for meat all the time. mmmmm so tasty.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lulis Leal

    This is all very interesting and makes for great conversation and speculation... However, this kind of thing has been going on forever. It's nothing new, we just didn't hear about it so globally before the internet and the instant means of communication we have now. Plus, the media is milking the heck out of this story to make money. What would REALLY be interesting is to see maps of previous mass animal deaths going back thousands of years or even hundreds of years. Who's keeping track of his stuff and how far back does do the statistics go?

    January 8, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • crystal

      For those of us who are old enough all we have to do is look back and we know that these things were not happening to the extent they are now. Frogs and bees were abundant so were flocks of birds. Never did we see in the news the floods tornadoes earthquakes we have today. Never did we hear of massive fish and birds kills like today. We could actually drink from our kitchen sink with no fear. We had real mom and pop farms. Not factory farms. We had food that wasn't genectically modified.

      January 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      thats not true.....when was the last time you heard of "unexplained" deaths of "different" animals at around the "same time" in "huge numbers" from "around the globe"??????????????? havent..

      January 9, 2011 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. Raxser

    How can Google leave out the mass extinction of the amphibians in Central America from this list?? Frog and salamanders throughout the tropical rain forests of Central America are dying.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. B-rad

    Some people think the end of the world is coming. But if I recall, I am sure God said we would not know the year or the time it will happen. So everyone is thinking its happening.... guess what?? ITS NOT!!!!

    January 8, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • crystal

      We don't know the exact day and hour when god will execute the wicked but we do know we are in the Generation which would see the start of the sign and the finish of it. In Matthew 24:34 Jesus said " Truly i say to you that this ( generation) will by no means pass away untill all things occur." we are at the very end of the generation Jesus spoke of. There will still be people alive after Armageddon. Those spared execution of divine judgement are those that learn now how God wants to be worshiped how we should each other the animals and our earth. They will have the prospect of living forever an a cleansed earth. No more old age, sickness, or death . This is what the bible really teaches.
      John 4:24 God is a spirit and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.

      January 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      true, but jesus DID say for us believers to pay attention to the signs prior to his should read the book of revelation..

      January 9, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
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