Thousands of dead blackbirds rained down on a town in central Arkansas last New Year's Eve after revelers set off fireworks that spooked them from their roost, and officials were reporting a similar occurrence yesterday as 2012 approached. Police in Beebe said dozens of blackbirds had fallen dead, prompting officers to ban residents from shooting fireworks last night. It wasn't immediately clear if fireworks were again to blame. Regardless, "We started shutting down fireworks," said a police officer. "We're working on cleaning up the birds now."
Scientists say the loud cracks from fireworks likely sent the birds into such a tizzy that they crashed into homes, cars, and each other before plummeting to their deaths last New Year's Eve. Beebe's police chief said he wouldn't be surprised if people sit out on their front porches in case the creatures fall from the sky again. "I guess we could have an annual blackbird watch," he said with a laugh. "People can just bring their umbrellas." One resident, who slept through last year's events, was ready: "When we got up on New Year's Day, we saw all the carnage out there," he said. "So we thought we would be on the watch for it this time." Click for more on the animal deaths in Arkansas. (Read more blackbirds stories.)