What to make of this? Share your thoughts in the comments with us please. This is weird and kinda cool cuz its supernatural or maybe its not…..
This story is via http://www.tonic.com
Birds Fall Dead From the Sky
Fish wash ashore in our rivers and bays: Is everything all right?
Imagine yourself at New Year’s Eve festivities on a cold Arkansas evening. Your spirits are high, the night sky flashes with bright colorful fireworks and the air fills with booms and crackles.
Then, out of nowhere, you feel something. Plop, another. What? Like Chicken Little of storybook fame, you wonder. “Is the sky falling?” Small black and brown feathered missiles rain down from above. Three thousand red winged blackbirds fall dead to the earth in an area less than a square mile. What to make of all this? Armageddon, do you think?
Once the confusion clears, the tiny corpses are collected and sent off to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin for analysis. There has to be a reasonable explanation for this.
Then it happens again. Within days, news comes that 125 miles away the carcasses of over 100,000 juvenile drum fish coat the shores of the Arkansas River. The dead fish are also whisked away for tests. Results pending. Days pass and we hear of more birds plummeting to earth in Tennessee, Louisiana and Kentucky. Then 2 million, you heard me, 2 million dead juvenile spot fish choke the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. This is getting spooky.
In a two week period, news reaches us of nine incidents of mass “wildlife mortality events” around the globe. Forty thousand crab bodies litter the beaches of Kent, England; thousands of dead doves cover the streets in Italy; jackdaw birds in Sweden; penguins in New Zealand — is it ever going to stop? Okay, now I think it is time to officially hit the panic button.
Theories begin to percolate in the media and on the Internet. Doomsday predictions — you know end of the world stuff, terrorist plots — are we humans next to keel over? Clandestine government involvement is suspected and my favorite theory of the culprits, aliens with their gamma rays.
“The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Help! If these are our last few days on the planet, I think we have the right to know. Let’s turn to the experts to see if they can shed some light on this catastrophe. And where are those test results?”
Okay, calm down everyone. According to Doug Inkley of the National Wildlife Federation, mass bird die-offs have occurred for centuries and are rare, but not apocalyptic events. He cites disease, pollution and freak events as triggers. In the Arkansas blackbird die-off, the autopsy results have shown that blunt force trauma was the cause of death in most. The booms from the late night fireworks likely startled the birds from their roosts and, being poor night flyers, resulted in disorientation and fatal collisions with trees, houses and cars.
Melanie Driscoll, Director of Bird Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway of the National Audubon Society tells us that red winged blackbirds roost in large congregations, often over 100,000 birds, so the loss of 500-5000 birds is not a large number comparatively. And, often these types of losses occur in the forest, away from human eyes. With increasing population, resulting in loss of habitat, combined with exploding worldwide media coverage about, well, everything, the whole Arkansas blackbird die-off has been blown out of proportion. That’s a relief.
Wait, what about the dead fish in Arkansas and Maryland, the crabs and the penguins? The good news is that these events can also be easily explained according to experts with state and national environmental agencies. Penguins in New Zealand lacked adequate food resources due to La Nina weather patterns. And, although test results are still pending, sudden drops in temperatures combined with large increases in juvenile fish populations this year resulted in cold shock die-off in Maryland. But 2 million? The National Wildlife Health Center has record of over 15 million juvenile spotted drum dying in the Chesapeake Bay under similar circumstances in January 1976.
So we can relax. It would seem that a combination of natural events have resulted in these coincidental wildlife mortality events. Nothing to worry about here. Or is there?
Perhaps there is a lesson in all this. Perhaps it is time that the human inhabitants of this planet notice that we are not here alone and that the things that we do, even frivolous entertainment like fireworks, can be devastating to the natural world around us. Wildlife is increasingly stressed by habitat loss and climate change. Human induced stressors such as pollutionair, water and in this case, noise pollution can throw delicate balances into devastation tailspins.
Case in point: whales stranding on beaches have been a mystery since the time of Aristotle. What causes these intelligent giants of our oceans to inexplicably beach themselves, sometimes hundreds at a time? The largest recorded single stranding was of 835 false killer whales. It is difficult to know if this phenomenon is getting worse.
Many marine scientists are concerned that rising noise pollution of our oceans is leading to more of these deadly marine mammal strandings. In particular, the use of military sonar by the US Navy among others exposes over 80 percent of our oceans to bursts of sound over 240 decibels or the equivalent of rocket blaststhis in a habitat where fish and marine mammals depend on sensitive hearing and echolocation to survive.
Please watch a short documentary produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council to see how you can help.
As we have recently witnessed in Arkansas, noise pollution is just as deadly to our furred, feathered and especially finned friends as all the oil in the sea. So shhhhh!