Arkansas Mysteries: Why Did Thousands Of Fish And Birds Suddenly Die?

January 3, 2011

Mark Memmott

The news that thousands of red-winged blackbirds fell dead from the sky in Beebe, Ark., on New Year's Eve follows the report that "hundreds of thousands" of fish were found dead in the Arkansas River, near Ozark, Ark., over the weekend.

There's no evidence connecting the two incidents. Beebe is about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock. Ozark is about 125 miles away from Beebe, to the west near the Oklahoma border.

The carcasses are being tested. The thinking as of now is that the birds might have been hit by lightning or hail, or might have been startled and confused by fireworks. KARK-TV has video of the carnage and clean-up.

In the other case, only one species -- drum fish -- were found dead. So disease is thought to be the most likely culprit. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.