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Bird Die-Off, Not a Die-Off After All, Expert Says

Five thousand blackbirds lay dead in the city of Bebee, Arkansas on New Year’s Day.  The macabre scene horrified residents and caused many to wonder if a great bird die off was to come.

That’s not very likely according to Gary Graves, a Smithsonian curator of birds who has spent the last 25 years researching birds.

Graves said that the deaths could be the result of a number of factors, especially since the blackbirds are nuisance animals, and it’s not illegal for their roosts to be disrupted by loud noises and other methods.

“There are hundreds of thousands to millions of birds in one roost,” said Graves,  “So, percentage wise, a few thousand out of a few million is not much.”

He also was critical of the number of speculative theories floating around the Internet.

“People’s imaginations are running wild,” Graves said. Theories range from “the really sublimely ridiculous,” like flying saucers and top-secret government weapons, to slightly more feasible explanations, like: weather, fireworks, or “fracking, a strange thing where they pump high pressure air into the ground to crack rocks to release gas from natural gas formation.”


  1. […] to content Backyard Chirper BlogAboutContributorsOnline Store « Bird Die-Off, Not a Die-Off After All, Expert Says Five Billion Birds Die in U.S. Every Year […]

  2. […] The uproar began after 5,000 winged blackbirds were found dead one morning in Arkansas last month. Conspiracy theorists suggested that everything from pesticides to covert military activities could have caused the deaths, all arguments that were rejected by biologists and bird experts. […]

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