Originally published 12/12/11, I am updating to include another bird die-off: Thousands of grebes crash land in Wal-Mart parking lot in Utah, inexplicably. The article opens: “Authorities were shocked to find more than 4,000 birds scattered across a local Utah Wal-Mart parking lot on Monday night. According to CBS affiliate KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah, witnesses claimed thousands of the creatures had crash-landed in the parking area. At least 1,500 Eared Grebes, a duck-like aquatic bird, which slammed into the pavement were dead. Fortunately, Utah Department of Wildlife Resource officials and volunteers were able to rescue up to 3,000 of the large flock.” The article says that the birds mistook the parking lot for a body of water. Um. Sure… Wildlife biologists did say this has happened before but never to this degree, with thousands mistaking the parking lot for water.
When I heard of a spate of sudden bird deaths, with crows suddenly dropping dead to the ground, I made sure to look at the dateline. Was I having deja vu? I remember sudden avian deaths last year at this time. In late December /early January thousands of birds dropped dead in Beebe Arkansas. Experts initially thought that it was New Year’s fireworks that caused the deaths. However those deaths were followed by mysterious deaths in Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, then Turkey, Manchester UK, and then many other parts of the world. By the end of the first week of January 2011, the event was known as “Aflockalypse” and was being reported by mainstream news. Reasons given were sudden cold spells, fireworks, or magnetism from a sunburst. Avian flu is always a go-to excuse as well. Yet none of the birds had been found to be diseased and the other offered reasons for their deaths seemed to ludicrous to most thinking people.
At that time, the die-offs extended then to fish, seals, and pelicans and throughout January and February people across the world were panicking at this unexplained event. Then the bird and animal die-offs dwindled away, the earthquakes of Christchurch and Japan happened, and the extreme weather of 2011 combined with staggering economic problems soon were at the forefront of people’s minds for the remainder of the year. Now, the bird deaths are back. Perhaps this time it is Avian flu. Time will tell.
Two Indian media outlets are reporting a bird-die off in Hazaribagh, India. One is below from Telegraph India and the other is from Times of India reporting the same thing. I looked up the dateline and this is a current news story, not one that happened in the early part of this year’s Aflockalypse. It may wind up to have an explanation, but the event still brings many people back 11 months to January 2011 and Aflockalypse, and there is once again, panic.
The Telegraph India reports today, “Crow deaths create panic“
“The mysterious epidemic that has claimed hundreds of crows in Jharkhand has now spread to Hazaribagh, with 350-odd scavengers perishing in Vishnugarh and Katkamsandi over the weekend, triggering panic among residents who have been advised by experts not to touch the carcasses. More than 1,000 crows have died in Jamshedpur alone in the past one and a half months, besides a number of deaths in Ghatshila and Giridih. According to villagers, the carcasses of around 250 crows have been spotted in the last two days on the premises of Ram Mandir in Vishnugarh. Mukhiya of Vishnugarh panchayat Arun Rajak said he had informed forest officials about the deaths. Forester Shiv Shankar Prasad suspected that the crows fell prey to avian flu. … Sher Mohammad, a resident, feared it was an indication of something worse. “Villagers are in panic, seeing crows drop dead on the ground suddenly. We have spotted around 100 carcasses in various places so far,” he added.”