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. LindseyLoo

    IMO this is all related to the magnetic pole shift. That isn't a theory – it is happening. Those 8000 doves in Italy showed signs of oxygen deprevation, thinking they flew too high and couldnt get air. Many birds and fish use the earth's magnetic signals for traveling. If those signals suddenly were incorrect, it count account for why they would fly too high or straight into the ground. The fastest recorded polar shift was 4 years, and we have been measuring this polar shift since at least 2003 with 40km/year rate move to Russia. So we may be in the middle of a fast shift and it is affecting wildlife.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      Marty: "Whoa, Doc – that's heavy!"
      Doc: "There's that word again; "heavy". Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth's gravitational pull?"

      January 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jdtk

    I also really don' t know how someone can buy this crap they are spilling out of their mouths. 16 mass bird deaths in 20 years. We have about 8-15 in seven day? 16 in 20 years falls a little short in comparison, don't you think?

    They also are all happening a day or two apart and away from fireworks. I don't know that it's HAARP or some government sanctioned think, but I do know it's most definitely weird.

    P.S. Mark C is a troll so everyone please stop feeding him.

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

    You always find a better understanding of a problem if you explore as many sides of the debate as you can find. And its usually good, to maintain objectivity, to start with material that has nothing to do with what you think/"know" it is.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gus

    Microwaves from the G3 and now more powerful G4 satellite transmissions that are used for cell, iphone etc. They never mention it because it would ruin the economy. Capitalism at it worst.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. anonymous

    Anybody else think that this dead bird epidemic is actually just someones Angry Bird obsession gone awry?

    January 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Peter

    There was some report from someone in Tenesse, that critters were coming out of the earth into the cold air and dying. Some of them beetles and worms that would hibernate for the winter. But, in the last few weeks, thousands of them are surfacing for no apparent reason.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. anon

    Avian Combat! *drums beating wildly*

    January 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bob

    Wasn't this an episode of "The Event"?

    January 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bob

    That explains all the dead worms too.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. anon

    I bet I could kill more birds.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kim

    I don't know what people are getting excited about. It's not like it never happens.
    Now if it was happening in the parts of the world where the most birds live, like Africa or S. America then people might have something to worry about. I guess Doomsdayers just love this type thing...

    January 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Diaz

      @ this hasnt happened like this...since when have you seen a huuuge amount of animals dying at around the same time from different parts of the world...and no one could figure out what caused think again..

      January 9, 2011 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. paul

    I think i understand some of this but with no coverage on local or world news channels (kinda like a cover up) it gets kinda fuzzy.Birds beat to death in mid-flight .seems kinda strange .maybe the gov. testing a new type of force field . The theory of of a localized gravitational collapse comes into mind though. Of course it is only a theory.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Linda

    With dead birds,crabs,fish,and etc. going on around the world...the firework trauma doesn't seem to fit the bill. Wouldn't one think by now they would have found someting after examining the various dead species (starting New Years)

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

      Sorry to tell you Linda but your CRABS didn't die! You need to shave 1 side, set the other side on fire and stab them with an ice pick when they come running out.

      January 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. anon

    @myklds: Is that a challenge?

    January 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. anon

    Maybe the aliens were reading The Catcher in the Rye, and thought the blackbirds were phonies....

    January 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
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