Friday, January 7, 2011

top 10 causes of die-offs

Whenever I drive around with my hunter friend watching the wild geese on Canadian roads, he tells me that "you can never go hungry in this country; look at'em!". Then the hunting season starts and I don't hear from him for a while..

angry birdsNowadays, it doesn’t seem like one has even to hunt animals anymore: they fall from the sky. You can see a summary below, we’ll first brainstorm possible causes, inspired by comments on various message boards.

  1. Angry birds game gone rogue
  2. Secret weapon tests, active denial microwave, chemtrails & HAARP (Putin report)
  3. Bastian won’t say the name (original, ivory tower, dream, c’mon) of Childlike Empress Moonchild (fairy queen)
  4. BP oil spill: exposure to corexit dispersant
  5. Mass extinctions accelerating (biogeosciences)
  6. Jesus killing the planet because of gays in the military
  7. Unsafe pesticide clothianidin, like bee CCD (PDF)
  8. Poorly timed fireworks (scpr)
  9. blunt trauma in midair (lab report) or hypothermia mid-flight (pdf)
  10. On January 2nd there was a HUGE solar flare. You can see it here if you set the date right (2011-01-02 00:00:00, be sure to choose the red telescope).

Additionally, there’s been talk of the Summer of the Shark and the Sokal affair.

Apparently, it all started in Arkansas, where birds and fish started to die.

Motorists stopped and gawked at hundreds of dead red-winged blackbirds on a highway in Pointe Coupee Parish, La., Monday, just days after residents of Beebe, Ark., saw more than 1,000 birds fall from the sky on New Year's Eve. On Monday, state biologists were gathering up some of the approximately 500 blackbirds and starlings that lay dead along Louisiana Route 1 near Pointe Coupee Central High School for testing. The United States Geological Survey has noted 16 incidents in the past 30 years where more than 1,000 black birds have died at the same time, usually the result of tightly-packed flocks flying into bad weather. What's more, more than 5 billion birds die of natural causes in the United States each year, so it is, in a way, unusual that Americans don't witness more major bird kills. Yet the use of improved testing and a state of heightened concern on the parts of state ornithologists is a proper response, even if the two bird kills had not come so close together, experts say. "Birds can be really good indicators of environmental problems, so I'd hate to think that 5,000 would die and nobody would care," says Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation at the National Audobon Society, in Washington. "It's worth investigation to find out what happened because there is potentially something we should worry about and it's potentially something that has an odd, but benign cause." Americans have theorized that everything from fallout from secret government weapons testing to UFO collisions downed the birds in Arkansas. But the newly-discovered bird rain in Louisiana is likely to focus more serious attention to the plight of blackbirds now bundled in winter flocks that can number over 100,000 birds. Postmortem tests of birds in the Arkansas incident showed evidence of blunt force trauma to many of the victims, which Mr. Butcher says means that it's likely the birds were spooked by New Year's Eve fireworks and may, in mass confusion, have run into cars and houses. Since blackbirds are considered a nuisance by farmers, the mass death in Louisiana could be attributable to a legal pest control effort. Pest control experts kill blackbird roosts in several ways, including spraying water on birds to induce hypothermia or by using legal poisons. Most such poisons work quickly, but a botched control attempt could mean that birds may have flown away from the roost and died nearby.

Fisheries officials are investigating the death of hundreds of snapper washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches. Beachgoers at Little Bay and Waikawau Bay found the fish - many with their eyes missing - dead on the sand yesterday. Aucklander James Hughes, who was visiting friends, said they were sitting around when children in their group ran towards them holding fish. "We said, 'Where'd you get them?' and they said they just started floating up to the beach." Mr Hughes and others on the beach began walking towards the spot where the fish had washed up, and found many dead fish in the water too. "We spoke to boaties coming in and they said there was a carpet of them floating in the water." A Department of Conservation official told Mr Hughes fish in the Coromandel area were starving because of weather conditions. "That's just completely untrue. This was something deliberate and it's just wrong," Mr Hughes said. Ministry of Fisheries official Brendon Mikkelsen said the fish had been in the water for at least 12 hours and would be unsafe to eat. Last night, another ministry official said the matter was being investigated. It would be illegal to deliberately dump snapper, but there could be an innocent explanation, such as a net splitting.

LE: NPR (link below) has a story about the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin:

The center has been analyzing 15 other blackbird die-offs over the past five years. And its scientists say the recent Arkansas die-offs seem different from the other cases.

Then neoporcupine came up with this list:

Probably not the end of times, perhaps the beginning of hard ones. But could just be the environment as usual.

dead birds in Falköping, Sweden

Coincidence? Or maybe time to take up religion; yeah take that atheists! Where's your God now?!

We even have a Google Map of the deaths.

Sources / More info: wiki-sonic, wiki-ads, grist-clothianidin, shatter-bee-decline, wiki-angry birds, cnn-ak-fish, npr-puzzling

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