This rules out “biblical plague”: Just a storm appears to be responsible for the death of 3,000 blackbirds that fell from the sky in Arkansas just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. It appears they were torn from their nighttime roosts by a thunderstorm, became waterlogged, and died from exposure. "This is a well-known phenomenon," said a Cornell ornithologist. And what about the hundreds of thousands of fish that died nearby? Disease is the apparent cause. "We have fishkills from time to time, it's not unusual,” said one state official.