January 2, 2011

"Hey, did you hear that 1,000 blackbirds died and fell from the sky in Arkansas?"

"Nobody knows why it happened! Probably just a normal thing..."

La la la. Move along.

52 comments:

Trooper York said...

Jeeez. Everybody knows you are supposed to bake them in a pie.

Ann Althouse said...

Are we doing roadkill pie... sky-kill pie?

Irene said...

Are we sure they weren't *canaries*?

Methadras said...

Irene said...

Are we sure they weren't *canaries*?


No coal mines in Arkansas that I know of.

Irene said...

Metaphorical canaries.

Trooper York said...

Ann Althouse said...
Are we doing roadkill pie... sky-kill pie?

Absolutely. The Packer in the playoffs and the Giants out and all that roadkill.

Garage Mahal must be sky high right about now.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob_R said...

Tell me when to panic.

rhhardin said...

It is not impossible to witness an abnormal deviation in the hidden or visible functioning of nature's laws. Indeed, were each man to take the trouble of cleverly examining the various stages of his existence (without forgetting a single one, for that very one might perhaps be destined to furnish the proof of what I am propounding) he will recall not without a certain surprise that in other circumstances would be comical, that on such and such a day--to speak of objective matters first--he witnessed some phenomenon which seemed to go beyond, and positively did go beyond, acknowledged notions provided by observation and experiment, as, for example, rains of frogs, whose magical apparition must not at first have been understood by the scientists. And how, on another such day, to speak secondly and lastly of subjective matters, his soul presented to psychology's searching gaze what I will not go as far as to term a mental aberration (which, however, would be no less curious; on the contrary, it would be still more so), but at all events--so as not to appear hard to please in the sight of certain cold persons who would never forgive me for the glaring lucubrations of my exaggeration--an unfamiliar and quite often extremely grave condition which indicates that the limit granted the imagination by good sense is sometimes, despite the ephemeral pact concluded between these two powers, unhappily exceeded by the forceful pressure of the will, but most of the time too, by the absence of its effective collaboration: let us give in support a few examples whose appositeness is not difficult to appreciate--if however, one takes to heart an attentive moderation. I offer two: the transports of rage and the malady of pride.

- Lautreamont

rhhardin said...

Generally rains of birds indicate an updraft into freezing temperatures that turns them to ice, followed by a gravity-assisted descent.

That's how frozen ducks wind up in the bedroom, nine times out of ten.

dont tread 2012 said...

Where, oh where, is Les Nessman when you need him-

Trooper York said...

Yes. Yes they are. Certainly before the Packers do. Or the lame ass Jets. Or those filthy Iggles. Who have never won shit. At least in the big game. I mean when did the Iggles win the Super Bowl. Never that’s when.
The Giants season should end at 11-5 which should be good enough for the playoffs any other year. It just wasn’t in the cards for this year. We have to regroup and come back strong next year. I have faith in our GM and I hope Tom stays. I won’t cry if he retires but I know the Giants won’t fire him. So we shall see what we shall see.
Congratulations to Garage Mahal, Titus and all the other Packer fans. (We haven’t heard from Garage lately as he is in Arkansas for the road kill convention)

Titus said...

My sister's best friend and neighbor is on his deathbed.

He is 44 and has stage 4 Colon Cancer.

He was the Assistant Sheriff in Dane County. The Sheriff he works for in Dane County, Mahoney has been amazing and a good friend.

His job has now been posted.

He tried chemo and radiology and it did not work.

He is now on Hospice Care and doped up.

He was diagnosed in October.

The newly elected governor called him.

He is gay and lives with his partner of 15 years in Mazomanie.

He is an amazing friend and neighbor to my sister. Whenever her fiance traveled for work she went and stayed with them. They had incredible Solstice Bonfires at their home.

How terribly sad.

Life is so difficult sometimes.

Fred4Pres said...

I must be Bush's fault.

David said...

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

ken in sc said...

rhhardin is probably right. There are layers of freezing air that can kill anything that breaths--including an airplane engine, especially at this time of year. As a private pilot, I know you have to watch out for ice in your carburetor and on your wings. A bird breathing it in could kill them.

Penny said...

This reminded me of incidents last summer where an unusual number of fish washed ashore. I just tried Googling to see just what that problem turned out to be.

After going through pages and pages of reports of anywhere between thousands, tens of thousands and a million fish washing ashore, it turned out to be a fishing boat with a torn net releasing 35,000 pounds of little fish into the ocean.

No wonder that didn't make the headlines. It's hardly the environmental armageddon that some either hoped for or feared.

PatCA said...

I read that it probably was lightning or a storm that moved through.

DADvocate said...

The CNN article said high-altitude hail could be the cause. Some were starlings. No loss there, they're an invasive species anyway.

Pogo said...

Updraft, I hope.

Else be prepared for the Plague of Frogs.

yashu said...

David, I was going to cite precisely that poem. One of my favorites.

Titus, my condolences to your sister & her friend. 44 is so damn young to die.

Maguro said...

It's global warming, of course.

Duh.

EDH said...

"It's the end of the world!"

Popville said...

The books of Charles Fort (as Forteans call them) were full of incidents such as this. The ones I read as a kid were quite entertaining. Fort was popular & respected in his time, but probably would have been a superstar today, holding court with his own talk show beamed worldwide. He might have given Rush a run for his money.

A brilliant, outrageous writer, he once wrote:

Witchcraft always has a hard time, until it becomes established and changes its name.
We hear much of the conflict between science and religion, but our conflict is with both of these. Science and religion always have agreed in opposing and suppressing the various witchcrafts. Now that religion is inglorious, one of the most fantastic of transferences of worships is that of glorifying science, as a beneficent being. It is the attributing of all that is of development, or of possible betterment to science. But no scientist has ever upheld a new idea, without bringing upon himself abuse from other scientists. Science has done its utmost to prevent whatever science has done.


Christine O'Donnell should have read Fort.

madAsHell said...

WooooHoooo!

The Sheahawks make history!! The first team with a losing season to make the play-offs!!

w/v: dimmi - nah...I prefer college football.

....and what the hell happened to the Badgers!!

sonicfrog said...

I too blame Global Warming!

The Musket said...

Titus -

My prayers go out for you, your sister, your friend and his loved ones.

Youngblood said...

Oh, hell. We're living in an M. Night Shyamalan film.

And not even one of his good ones.

bagoh20 said...

They're not dead, they're sleeping. Beautiful plumage, the Blackbird.

Jennifer said...

Effin' creepy.

I love that the linked, linked article reassuringly concludes with don't worry, this has happened before and we've never figured it out. Rest assured, we're clueless! That should ease your mind...

AST said...

That's enough for 41 and 2/3 pies. Be sure to defrost before baking.

edutcher said...

Agree with rh. Things like this were recorded back in Colonial times.

Trooper York said...

Yes. Yes they are. Certainly before the Packers do. Or the lame ass Jets. Or those filthy Iggles. Who have never won shit. At least in the big game. I mean when did the Iggles win the Super Bowl. Never that’s when.

Now, now, don't be bitter. Once more it's just the Big Scrapple over the Big Apple.

Shanna said...

I read that it probably was lightning or a storm that moved through.

We had tornado's a few days ago that killed actual people but what makes the news? Blackbirds. Sheesh.

AllenS said...

"This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal and the blackbirds will cease to fall from the sky" -- Barack Obama

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

Frontal Passage?

Either the weather at the front killed them, or the convergence of air at the front accumulated God knows what they're spewing into the air over Arkansas and the noxious air killed them.

(Bad link first time)

mistysbloggingkingdom122577 said...

Am I the only one who watched the short-lived Flash Forward? Someone is messing with time itself and as everyone goes forward to the same point in time for a couple of minutes, the birds were a casualty as they were in Somalia. Jeez, as I write this I see why it was short-lived, although at the time I was totally hooked.

Titus, sorry to hear about your friend.

Crimso said...

"But no scientist has ever upheld a new idea, without bringing upon himself abuse from other scientists. Science has done its utmost to prevent whatever science has done."

Every properly trained scientist should see this as a feature and not a bug. All new ideas should be attacked, and most vigorously by those who propose them (thanks to Popper for clearly stating this idea; one may fairly ask whether he vigorously attacked it enough).

"Someone is messing with time itself"

I always figured this was the reason for Obama's 57 states "gaffe." He actually has come back from our future to do things that seem crazy to us, but make perfect sense once one knows what is to come. That's just part of why he's so awesome (note that John Titor's dumb ass never even came close to being POTUS).

Freeman Hunt said...

In the article about this that I linked in a cafe post on this blog, residents were complaining that officials were telling them all was well while Hazmat clad government men in gas masks climbed on roofs to retrieve dead birds. Ha ha.

I'm sure rhhardin is right.

Freeman Hunt said...

Here it is.

The mystery is unraveling like scenes from a movie, dozens of U.S. Environmental Services crews spent the day picking up the birds, walking between homes and climbing on roofs with protective hazmat suits and breathing masks,.

...

Weatherly is skeptical, "They're walking around in masks and I'm wandering do we need the same thing because what makes that happen for them to drop out of the sky like that."


My mistake, they were wearing breathing masks, not gas masks.

Freeman Hunt said...

"What's going on?!"
"Nothing, ma'am. All is well."
"Have we been poisoned?"
"We don't know, but you shouldn't worry about it. All is well."
"But you're wearing a Hazmat suit!"
"... Yup. All is well, ma'am."
"And a breathing mask!"
"It's time for you to go back into your house now, ma'am."

Freeman Hunt said...

It's tough to be an animal in Arkansas these days:

And though biologists believe it's unrelated, an estimated 100,000 dead drum fish, believed to be diseased, also lined the banks of a twenty-mile stretch of the Arkansas River on Saturday, 125 miles west of of Beebe.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Else be prepared for the Plague of Frogs.

Too late!

When I cleaned my office last week to vacate it for retirement, I was still sweeping up dead frogs who had hidden behind the filing cabinets.

vw: baskelif. OMG don't look at it!

Lincolntf said...

When these things happened back in good old pre-Columbian America or Middle Ages Europe, one could expect anything from witch trials to human sacrifices or even spontaneous migrations.
And we liked it!

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Blackbird falling from the midday sky
Got broken wings beause they fell and died
wonder why
1000 blackbirds fell from the midday sky
Blackbirds die...
blackbirds die...
fall from the sky from a great great height....

Matthew said...

Most likely culprit: Microwave Towers. This happens regularly in the Southwest, when flocks of birds fly between the massive telephone microwave repeaters erected across the desert.

It used to happen in Manhattan, too, back when I was in data procesing/communications; you'd find dead pigeons and peregrine falcons on the ground between the buildings, and some of them would show signs of having been cooked.

When I was the Teleport in Staten Island, dead, semi-cooked birds were unremarkable, given all the satellite and television transmission dishes there.

Sigivald said...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-01-03-dead-birds_N.htm

They flew into things because fireworks startled 'em, it appears.

(As Popville pointed out, this stuff actually happens with fair pseudo-regularity, and has for as long as records exist, so it's unwise to automatically read them as a Reaction To The Evils Of The Day.)

Sigivald said...

Matthew said: Most likely culprit: Microwave Towers. This happens regularly in the Southwest, when flocks of birds fly between the massive telephone microwave repeaters erected across the desert.

Bulldada.

Even long-haul microwave links are only a few hundred watts.

Given that spread over distance reduces effective power, there's no way for it to "cook" a bird flying through it.

Unsurprisingly, this is why a search for flocks of birds cooked by microwave relays in the deserts returns no evidence of it ever happening - because it doesn't.

Why? Because it can't.

Purest urban legend. Or, in this case, "empty desert wasteland legend".

(Oh, I'm sure you did find dead birds in New York, mind you. I just don't think your belief that they were "cooked" is accurate.

Unless you're also a bird pathologist by training?)

c3 said...

Black Bird

Pogo;
rain of frogs

c3 said...

PS: No actual frogs were hurt in the filming of this movie

Matthew said...

"Unless you're also a bird pathologist by training?"

Nope. Just one of the guys who would have to shovel them off the ground before doing cable or maintenance work.

It happens all the time, and is no "Urban Legend".