January 8, 2011

Arkansas Town’s New Year’s Fireworks Kill at Least 3,000 Blackbirds

Red-winged blackboards fell from the sky by the thousands, apparently brought down by an Arkansas town’s midnight fireworks display. According to an Associated Press (AP) report, “fireworks appeared to have frightened the birds into such a frenzy that they crashed into homes, cars, and each other. Some may have flown straight into the ground.”

The article goes on to state that the dead birds “will not be missed,” because red-winged blackbirds are “among North America’s most abundant birds . . . .” I find that to be a profoundly disturbing sentiment. At one point, another species darkened the skies to a similar degree. The last Passenger Pigeon, however, eventually joined the rest of her species in a human-caused extinction. The Chipper Woods Bird Observatory puts it aptly: “Who could have dreamed that within a few decades, the once most numerous bird on Earth would be forever gone?”

New Year’s insanity as expressed in things like fireworks and people shooting into the air has long kept me inside on December 31. Tragically, these Arkansas birds had no such shelter.

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