Dead Birds Fall From Sky and Other Unusual Events in Arkansas

January 2, 2011 Updated: January 10, 2011

[xtypo_dropcap]A[/xtypo_dropcap] series of mysterious events has occurred in various places in Arkansas—odd, and disturbing events. Events which, when strung together, give one pause for thought.

Dead Birds Fall From the Sky in Arkansas

The most recent event occurred on Dec. 31, 2010. In the town of Beebe, Ark., more than 1,000 blackbirds died and fell from the sky over the town.

Wildlife officials are making an effort to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to die.

The reports of dead birds began coming into The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission about 11:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve. The birds are reported to have fallen over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and a current aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area.

Commission Ornithologist Karen Rowe said the birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail," according to an Associated Press report.

Wildlife officers collected about 65 dead birds. The birds will be sent for testing to the state Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis.

Dead Fish Cover a 20 Mile Area of Arkansas River

On New Year's Day, a report was released by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A spokesperson for the commission says dead drum fish now cover a 20-mile section of the Arkansas River near Ozark.

Seven teams from the state agency visited the affected portion of the river Friday. Commission Spokesman Keith Stephens says an official estimate of how many fish have died is expected on Monday, but he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the number is likely in the hundreds of thousands.

The affected fish seem to be limited to a single species, the Drum fish. Drum fish are bottom feeders that eat other fish and insects.

Spokesman Stephens noted that some of the live drum fish were sick. They will be sent to a lab at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff for testing.

Arkansas Earthquakes

In Guy, Ark., numerous earthquakes have been reported. The Arkansas Geological Survey is trying to unravel the seemingly mysterious cause of the quakes.

The small community of Guy has 549 residents and is north of Little Rock. It has experienced an almost constant shaking from a large series of measurable earthquakes, since September 20, 2010. The last reported number of quakes during that period was 487.

In one morning alone, the area had 15 quakes including a 3.1-magnitude as reported from Geohazards supervisor for the Geological Survey, Scott Ausbrooks.

Most people don't think of Arkansas when earthquakes come to mind. Although earthquakes are not unusual in the Southeast state, the current frequency is unusual.

"This time last year we had 39 quakes total for the entire state," said Ausbrooks, according to information from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Ausbrooks says the state Geological Survey has no idea whether the current swarm is a natural or manmade event, but his office is seriously exploring the latter. "We see no relation to the drilling in the area, but we haven't ruled out a connection to the salt water disposal wells," he said.

Ausbrooks said drillers inject wastewater into the earth at high pressure, and in the area around the town, the disposal wells go as deep as 12,000 feet. He points to incidents in Colorado in the 1960s at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where deep water injection was tied to earthquakes.