AR Bird Deaths Caused by Fireworks

Mystery solved? Fireworks were likely the culprit behind the deaths of some 5,000 birds in a small town near Little Rock on New Year’s Eve, an Arkansas bird specialist said Wednesday. Dr. Karen Rowe, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ornithologist, said someone shooting off professional-grade fireworks in a residential district scared the birds out of their roost and into a 25-mph flight that ran them into houses, signs, and even the ground. The flock consisted of red-wing blackbirds and European starlings, both of which have limited night vision, and they became confused by all the commotion. Witnesses said they saw the birds crash into everything in sight, and the necropsies performed by the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission found blunt trauma to the chest, which caused hemorrhages, and the leading edge of the birds’ wings broken.