Arkansas birds dead: Preliminary tests show multiple blunt trauma to bird's vital organs

    8:07 PM, Jan 3, 2011   |    comments
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    BEEBE, Ark. (KTHV) -- Arkansas State Veterinarian Dr. George Badley tells Today's THV that preliminary test results show thousands of birds died mid-air due to multiple blunt trauma to their vital organs.

    "They did have multiple hemorrhages on the inside of them especially around the liver which would mean ah would mean trauma," says Badley.

    " Its not that unusual but that many it make you think that its not a disease its something cataclysmic that happened all at one time," says Badley.

    Fast Facts:

    -Up to 5,000 birds fell from the sky New Year's Eve
    -The birds were found in Beebe
    -No birds were found outside of a one-mile area
    -Testing will begin Monday to determine what caused the incident
    -3rd time birds killed in Arkansas

    Arkansas Game and Fish officials originally estimated 2,000 birds. They now say it was between 4,000 - 5,000.

    It happened on New Year's Eve in Beebe.

    The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says laboratories in Arkansas, Georgia and Wisconsin will examine some carcasses starting Monday. Results could be back in a week.

    Commission spokesman Keith Stephens and Karen Rowe  says the birds fell in an area about a mile long and a half-mile wide. Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe says the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail, or may have been startled by fireworks.

    "It's a very unusual occurrence but it's not unheard of and across the globe and across the state or the nation or even here in Arkansas we've had event before where birds have fallen out of the sky," says Rowe.

    It's not the first time birds have dropped from the Arkansas sky. Lightning killed ducks at Hot Springs in 2001 and hail knocked birds from the sky at Stuttgart in 1973 on the day before hunting season.

    Environmental Services finished cleaning up the birds on Sunday.

    Game and Fish officials do not believe the dead birds are connected to the dead fish that were found in Ozark. They say disease is likely the cause of their death.

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