Ark. Blackbird Die-Off Was Deliberate
Officials say fireworks set off in roost in Beebe, Arkansas
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2012 10:53 AM CST
Dr. Brandon Doss examines dead red-winged blackbirds in Little Rock, Ark., Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. A similar die-off this year was deliberately caused, officials say.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

(Newser) – The hundreds of dead blackbirds that rained down on a rural Arkansas town for the second New Year's Eve in a row weren't so much omens of the apocalypse as victims of crime, reports Fox News. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is blaming human interference for the 200 or so bird deaths, saying in a statement: "We know that there was evidence of fireworks set off in the middle of the roost, and it wasn't a coincidence." Officials believe that fireworks accidentally spooked the birds last year, leading to the death of 4,000 of them as they chaotically flew into each other and buildings. Criminal charges could result this time.