Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Birds Scared To Death?

On New Year's Eve in Arkansas they had a very loud fireworks show. When the sun came up the next morning, the whole area was littered with the bodies of dead birds. These birds did not die because of disease, but because they were apparently spooked into flying at night and started colliding with all sorts of things. At least that was the theory yesterday, as now another cluster of dead birds has shown up in Louisiana, which might have been killed by power lines. This is now creating bird death conspiracy theories online. The autopsies on the Arkansas shows that many of the birds died from blunt force trauma similar to when a bird flies into a window. They don't usually fly at night because they can't see very well, ergo it was a plausible explanation that the fireworks spooked the birds into a flying frenzy.

While the number of birds who died in this freak incident is likely a tiny fraction of those killed in wind turbines each year, we should seek to minimize the death of wildlife as a result of human activity. I don't know why this fireworks show would lead to this incident where thousands of similar shows have not led to avian carnage. Was this too loud? Is there an alternative explanation? I'm sure there are people who are trying to blame this on oil companies. They have not yet found a consice explanation for the second cluster of dead birds or whether or not the two clusters are related. It is an interesting story.

1 comment:

  1. How does this account for the deaths of hundreds of birds over open fields, as shown on t.v. last night?