Arkansas Bird Deaths: Game & Fish weigh in on rumors

    7:29 PM, Jan 7, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens says lab tests show the thousands of birds that fell from the sky New Year's Even died from blunt-force trauma, and he also talks about the wild rumors this story has spawned.

    Wednesday, preliminary lab results show the blackbirds that fell from the sky in central Arkansas died from blunt force trauma.
    The Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., released the results.

    Arkansas' Game and Fish Commission says the birds didn't test positive for any pesticides. Officials are still awaiting lab results from tests for other toxins and infectious diseases.

    In all, up to 5,000 birds rained onto rooftops and into fields in the central Arkansas town of Beebe. One struck a woman walking her dog and another hit a police cruiser.

    Even after the preliminary results were released, Arkanasas Game and Fish spokesman Keith Stephens says rumors were still running rampant, and his organization is now keeping a list.

    Stephens says the Commission has gotten calls from people worldwide who speculate aliens are to blame, who argue this proves end-of-the-world prophecies will come true, and some believe it had to be a mass poisoning.  

    Stephens calls all such ideas false, and he says lab tests do support the theory that fireworks on New Year's Eve spooked the birds and sent them flying into cars, houses and each other and plummeting to their deaths.

    Friday on Today's THV at 6:30 p.m., THV's Dawn Scott interviews Stephens about not only the thousands of dead birds, but also asks about the thousands of dead freshwater drum that washed up along the banks of the Arkansas River near Ozark. 

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