Monday, January 3, 2011

Bye-bye blackbird

 Well Happy New Year to you, too.

The current count is 2000.  2000 Redwing blackbirds rained on a town with only 5000 people.  The odds are not in your favor.  You know who could have used those birds?  The fine people of Australia....

Prevailing theories on the rain of birds:

Poison:  ruled out by autopsy, which is correctly known as necropsy in animals, to perpetuate the notion that we are better than them.  17 birds were examined post-mortem, which seems like a low statistical confidence, but the poor vet probably needed to get back to whatever he was doing.  If he had spent his youth chasing the DDT truck, he probably wouldn't recognize it if it puffed in his sweaty little face.  The Christian Science Monitor adds, "If the birds had been poisioned, biologists say, it's more likely that they would have died around their roosts rather than in a single raining event." 

Weather: "Although freely available archived lightning data is unavailable near Beebe....."  what a great sentence.  So many modifiers.   So specific.  "AccuWeather suggested lightning as a possible cause..."  well, they would, wouldn't they? Redwings flock by the millions; a lightning strike could take out a pile of them, but then they could bring down a plane.  Nature is so fascinatin'...

Loud Noise: Brought to you by the weather theorists after they looked more closely at the timing of the thunderstorms and the timing of Birdageddon.  Maybe... fireworks, they say.  I think it would have to be something louder than that. 
End Times:  I reject the notion that the world ends in 2012 -- not just because time is a man-made construct and if God follows it, he is probably on the Jewish calendar, but because the Mayans couldn't predict the end of their own world, so why should I listen to them?  The Peruvians, now.... they knew from a bird splat. 

Dropped cargo:  I might reject this theory if it hadn't happened so recently, so close to home.  If you are looking for a new hobby or interest, consider collecting Things that Fall Off Airplanes.  There are new opportunities daily, apparently.  See also, things that fall from the sky in general...

Fowl Play:  We're not above it.
And I don't for a minute think that it's proximity to a 100,000 dead fish is a coincidence, either.  Time for us to consider Chairman Mao's Great Sparrow Massacre, or just a good old fashioned American jackrabbit drive.

Birds are Dinosaurs:  History tells us they tend to die off in inexplicably large numbers.   
HAARP: I had no idea what this was.  Having spent the requisite 6 minutes on research (and called it macaroni...) I have come to the conclusion that for a pack of physicists they make one ugly-looking website.  It stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.  And it looks like this.  The website acknowledges, "...Some insignificant potential impacts, such as lost habitat, socioeconomic, and wildlife impacts, may not be mitigated."

You know what else "Harp" makes me think of?

Beebe:  In learning about the blackbirds, I learned some fascinating things about Beebe.
(2) Pacific Islanders live there.  Are they married to each other?
(8) Registered sex offenders, meaning you are far less likely to have a sex offender on your lawn than 12 dead birds.
Single family home is still under 100K....but probably the market is down just now.

Get this:  no one has been murdered in Beebe for 7 years.  in 2009, 3 people were, and assaults are way way up.  Beebe is one tough town, with a local crime index higher than the US as a whole.

Tornado activity is (brace yourself) "252% greater than the overall U.S. average."  The nearest hospital is 15 miles away.  I think the birds just gave up.  Or they bumped into each other.

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