If a single dead bird is a bad omen, then what are the 1,000 dead birds that fell from the sky in Arkansas this past weekend? It's especially frightening on New Year's Day -- a day that is already fraught with meaning. What does that say about the year to come?
Different news reports have different numbers, but the number of birds that fell was well over 1,000 according to most, and there's still no good explanation. Pretty terrifying, really. The birds had fallen Friday night over a 1-mile area of Beebe, Arkansas, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area. According to The Huffington Post:
The workers from U.S. Environmental Services started the cleanup Saturday ... The workers wore the suits as a matter of routine and not out of fear that the birds might be contaminated. Speculation on the cause is not focusing on disease or poisoning.
A thousand dead birds on the first day of the new year (1/1/11). Does anyone else think this is a bad omen?
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) began receiving reports about dead birds at 11:30pm on New Year's Eve. "I thought the mayor was messing with me when he called me," Milton McCullar, a town street supervisor, told local television station, according to Time. "He got me up at 4'oclock in the morning and told me we had birds falling out of the sky."
It's also not the only strange thing in the area. Near Little Rock, Arkansas, more than 100,000 fish were also killed by something in the Arkansas River. Although CNN reports that the two aren't related, there does seem to be something fishy (pun intended). But what?
Is this merely a coincidence? Or a religious thing? With the proximity to the new year, it would be easy to read into the death of so many blackbirds, which are traditionally a good omen if alive and also carry with them a bit of otherworldly power (according to superstition). What does it mean when they drop out of the sky by the thousands?
Only time will tell, of course, but it's a bit uneasy to start to a time of the year that's usually filled with such promise and hope. Our new beginning came at the end for more than 1,000 birds. And while time and the way we mark it is merely a construct, it's still an unsettling way to start 2011.
What do you think it means?
Image via YouTube