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Counting Dead Blackbirds: Conspiracy Theories Abound in Arkansas

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The mystery: Dead blackbirds, dead fish.
The setting: Rural Arkansas on New Year's Eve.
The story: In a town named Beebe, thousands of red-winged blackbirds begin to drop dead out of the sky onto New Year's revelers. Coincidentally, the surname of the Arkansas governor is Beebe. Meanwhile, 125 miles away, 100,000 drum fish are found belly-up in the Arkansas River. Two days later, in Louisiana, 500 more red-winged blackbirds are discovered dead on a highway, and Kentucky reports bird deaths. Religious leaders begin preaching about the end times. Officials say loud fireworks or weather are tied to the bird deaths. The fish likely died from disease. Social media erupts with conspiracy theories. It makes the news in Russia. People don't believe the government.
Questions, fear and plenty of speculation erupt.
As one Democrat quipped, "Could the birds be harbingers of bad things to come as they fell right as the GOP was taking over?"
Many people joke that maybe too many people were playing the computer game "Angry Birds."
Or as Jon Stewart said Monday night on "The Daily Show," maybe Arkansas is just in the running this year for "leading exporter of bat-bleep crazy." Last year, it was South Carolina.
The official line is that the birds died of blunt trauma to their organs and suffered blood clots resulting from a massive midair collision. The theory is that they were startled by something -- fireworks or weather.
But the storms that rocked the state earlier in the day had moved way east of Arkansas by the time the birds fell, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. On the fireworks front, the city of Beebe does not host a large pyrotechnic display on New Year's Eve. Would a few bottle rockets do that kind of damage? Arkansas officials are still investigating the fish kill.
Dead fish have also been found in Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. More than 100 tons of sardines were found dead in Brazil on Sunday. New Zealand media reported on Tuesday that dead, mostly eyeless, snapper had washed up on several Coromandel Peninsula beaches.
Naturally, people have jumped from disease explanations to government cover-ups worthy of an old "X-Files" episode, to signs of the apocalypse.
The town of Beebe sits less than 20 miles from the Little Rock Air Force Base. Could the base be conducting secret tests? Last year, it was reported that some Air Force researchers were testing high-powered microwave blasts to knock small robo-planes out of the sky. Officials with the Little Rock Air Force Base did not return calls for comment.
Perhaps, Sarah Palin is sending a missive from Alaska to convince Mike Huckabee not to make a White House run in 2012. If so, she's behind the times. He's moved to Florida. How are the fish there?
Other theories involve poison from the BP Gulf disaster. Another one centers on drilling and fracking throughout Arkansas. Environmental causes are often the reason behind many wildlife deaths such as honeybees and birds. Is the world at an ecological tipping point?
One theory that could have some real basis also looms.

Arkansas sits on the New Madrid earthquake fault line. It extends from northeast Arkansas through southeast Missouri and into western Tennessee, western Kentucky and southern Illinois. A series of strong earthquakes occurred in 1812 in this area. Reports from the time say that wildlife died before the big ones.

Geologists have predicted that in the next 50 years, if not sooner, a devastating earthquake of 6.5 or higher might happen. In late 2008, the Obama administration's Long Term Disaster Recovery Working Group held five meetings around the country, including in Memphis, which sits in the heart of the fault line. Maybe they need to meet again.
Then, there's the conspiracy theory that links two major news stories this week -- the birds and the death of John P. Wheeler, III.
According to, (one headline from the site: US Descends Into Total Police State As 2012 'Solar Chaos' Fears Grow) a document has been prepared for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin by the Foreign Military Intelligence Directorate. It supposedly shows a linkage between the birds and Wheeler, the special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force from 2005-2008 who was found dead in a Delaware landfill.
Basically, as the story goes, a malfunction in an Air Force tanker carrying Phosgene poisonous gas caused the deadly brew to be sprayed over central Arkansas. Wheeler then confronted the Pentagon and ended up dead.
But the strange but true tales of wildlife deaths also prompted some folks to exercise their capitalist muscles. A T-shirt with a dead bird is already on sale in Little Rock. With bird deaths occurring globally, the creator may soon have a thriving business.
Filed Under: Woman Up, Environment

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I personally believe: could be right, likelihood I AM right about this, or I could be wrong, but here it is:
Genetic engineering. Man creating half human, half animal, injecting genes into plants. Tampering with the already very fragile ecosystem without responsibility: neither scientific nor moral.
I think that man is definitely behind this. And like the many dirty, corrupt people who are their predecessors, they would come up with any plausible sounding explanation to mask what they've already done: and are doing, and intend to keep doing, because they are evil, pure and simple: "because they can."
The day they cracked the genetic code and figured out the double helix, I said to my family: now, all h--- will break loose.

January 30 2011 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard about the mass amount of birds dying, I instantly thought about that scene from the movie Signs where the aliens had this huge invisible force field in the sky and all of the birds were flying into it and dropping dead....

yeah... think about that.... hahaha

January 29 2011 at 6:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We need to find out about phosgene because it's being sprayed all over populated areas and can be seen as chemtrails so I think the article's statement that "Basically, as the story goes, a malfunction in an Air Force tanker carrying Phosgene poisonous gas caused the deadly brew to be sprayed over central Arkansas. Wheeler then confronted the Pentagon and ended up dead" is likely. Find out more at

Google chemtrails and look up in your skies and see for yourself, then ask wtf is this for? Why is the sky being sprayed, by who, and for what?

January 14 2011 at 8:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I laughed it off too. A Cluster Effect gone Viral (pun noticed, but not intended) courtesy of the World Wide Web.

I just moved my new family back to Arkansas a few months ago. We're only a few towns over from Beebe, and I think I can speak for the rest of us poor hayseeds when I say that the town of Beebe is not Fireworks City. In fact, I have it on good report from a friend that lives only a few miles away from the spot the town of Beebe was, (comparatively) silent as the grave on New Year's Eve.

In fact, *everything* that way is silent as the grave. It's not even lit at night; pure dark countryside.

Why are they talking about hail? I'm accustomed to hail in Arkansas, it goes with our Tornado Alley image.

But, as confirmed by the WSJ, there were no storms in the area at the time of the incident to create the murderous hail. There *was* a storm system in the Mid South that night, but it was on the other side of the river. I know because I celebrated New Year's Eve at a party in Atoka, TN. The storms didn't smash into Arkansas until later.

Then 100,000 dead fish. We're much more accustomed to that around here. There are swathes of Arkansas that look like nothing more than vasts open Wildlife and Gaming reserves. My first thought was poison, but no: Single species indicates disease as the vector.

Perhaps if we went outside the U.S.? Everyone knows about Sweden: /05/2011-01-05_dead_birds _f...

Oh, look: Louisiana and Kentucky too. And a few hundred tons of dead fish washing up on the shore of Brazil. -from-sky-louisiana_n_80...

And a few million dead fish washing up on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

What concerns me is a very nervous looking/sounding State Veterinary Examiner who had no comment for 48 hours and then came back with "blunt force trauma" *after* taking up first one theory, then another, then swearing off speculation. Blunt trauma and nothing else. I could have picked up one of the dead birds myself and told you that. Give me a box cutter and I could have demonstrated it in 5 minutes. So why didn't the examiner?

Then the U.K., though I realize this is the third time crabs have washed up on the shore in England, I'm inclining towards the hypothesis that there weren't 40,000 of them.

What concerns me is that the birds that died were removed by the U.S. Environmental Services using gas masks and body suits. The reason released for this was "for precautionary measures". The bodies were also sent to Georgia "for examination".

Why? It's blunt force trauma. Just ask the Arkansas Wildlife guy

Apparently, I'm one of a handful -if that many- who bothered to check in with Asia.

Here's today's headline in Japan. Question: Why isn't it front page news on MSN, or Google, for that matter? 011/01/03/Japan-on-alert- after-find...

...because the Japanese appear to be freaking out a little.

The birds were also witnessed to have “trauma in the breast tissue, with blood clots in the body cavity, and a lot of internal bleeding” because blood clots in the body cavity suggest the word "viral" to me.

Dead birds and fish. Where have we seen these two before, I wonder?

Look familiar? eb&cd=2&sqi=2& ;ved=0C...

The fact that the newspapers seem shoulder to shoulder on the "nothing is wrong, nothing to see here" kick worries me. My impression from the last decade of non-stop-terrorize-you-ov er-nothing news reports was that the media spend the larger chunk of their collective day making up things to be frightened of. Hearing the media take up the "Think Sunny Thoughts" mantra, with a little kiddy section chorus is downright ominous.

You mentioned dead fish in New Zealand. What about the 100 dead birds they just found there? bird-deaths-in-sweden-add ...

This morning, it was East Texas: 408-now-east-texas-also-r epor...

Do you still think it's a fatal combination of hail, fireworks, alcohol, and Arkansas hicks? What if another ten cities internationally get hit over the weekend. I suppose the New Madrid fault line could run in thirty different directions, if you want it to. Still with Jon Stewart on this one? Then why are the bird deaths moving West as if they're chasing the warm air current?

At their current rate, they look to hit California soon. Ah, well. You know those L.A. types. In the running this year for bat [censored] crazy. :)

January 06 2011 at 10:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Tornadic activity has long been theorized to be the culprit behind fish and frogs raining out of the sky, and given the fact that there was an unusual wintertime tornado outbreak, of approx. 30 twisters no less, this lends prudence to the notion that severe weather was in fact the culprit. As for the various aquatic die-offs around the globe, most of it is probably due to the extreme cold. Thousands of fish suffered the same fate in the Amazon this past summer.

Btw, you have to remember that wintertime is when many birds roost in the southern United States, and there can be hundreds in any single tree at a given period. Subsequently, it'll only take one localized atmospheric event in order to render thousands of birds dead. Also, the birds won't drop to the ground immediately, but only after passage or weakening of the storm system which first picked them up. During the time-frame in question, a strong system passed through the entire affected area, and so it stands as the most likely reason behind the avian deaths.

January 05 2011 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to James's comment

James, can you tell me why this affected the blackbirds (primarily) and the one type of fish? I can only assume there were different types of fish in the water,. Thanks, as I do appreciate your analysis, which makes more sense than anything else I have read.

January 05 2011 at 11:18 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Perhaps by stating fireworks or weather were the factors being the cause of the blackbirds dying that has caused all the conspiracy theories. Beebe doesn't have fireworks, the bad weather had passed, hmm. Why just the blackbirds? Why just one type of fish? People joke & poke fun, but seriously, I would like to know the real answer.

January 05 2011 at 10:34 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

I don't trust anything officials are saying and won't until reliable tests are done by trustworthy people.

January 05 2011 at 9:36 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

I do not find any comments on this site so far. Hopefully not all the commentators were descending into the usual name calling and vituperative attacks on various public figures. And each other. It is to be hoped that this "New Approach to Comments" is indeed being put into action. It will make a huge difference to these discussion boards. It is high time.

The topic today is a fascinating one. Firecrackers, an earthquake fault line ... conspiracy. Terrific fodder for comment and speculation. Let's go for it.

January 05 2011 at 5:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think we are heading into new times, I think this is a sign and even though it might come with an explanation it is still to be seen as a sign, an awakening to what has been kept secret to us all. They are coming, the outsiders will show themselves and the time of deception is at hand. Do not lose faith though, stay strong as this new era comes crashing in. Let it begin, hold on tight and to those of you who see the diference between the illumination and the true light of night hold strong and you will know him when he appears!

January 05 2011 at 1:50 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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