The town of Beebe, Ark., is home to about 4,500 people—and about the same number of dead birds. State wildlife officials went door-to-door today to collect the creatures from rooftops, trees, and yards. Officials estimate that between 4,000 and 5,000 birds—mostly blackbirds—began tumbling from the sky late on New Year's Eve and into the day yesterday. Officials remain stumped.
"It could be weather-related or possibly stress-related," says an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission rep, who added that no physical injuries were spotted on the birds collected so far. "There were some fireworks shot off at midnight and it is possible that the birds were on their roost and stressed so bad that it could have killed them." The birds will be sent to testing facilities in Little Rock and Madison, Wis., tomorrow, reports Reuters.