In something out of a horror movie, 100 dead birds fell from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas, on Dec. 31 New Year's Eve, mere hours before the clock struck 2012.
Officials in central Arkansas cited fireworks as the culprit. Supposedly the birds were spooked by fireworks set off by New Year's Eve revelers. The birds began falling out of the sky at around 7 pm. Calls to police flooded in and local television networks reported that birds were raining down.
Beebe police Lt. Brian Duke said Sunday that officials ordered local residents to stop setting off fireworks after blackbirds started flying into objects and each other, crashing to the ground dead. The state Game and Fish Commission claimed someone targeted a blackbird roost and said there was evidence of fireworks at the roost. We know that there was evidence of fireworks set off in the middle of the roost, and it wasn't a coincidence.
The birds landed on roofs, sidewalks, streets and fields. One hit a woman who was out walking her dog. Another smashed into a police cruiser.
However, some found the entire incident decidedly eerie. Just last year, on New Year's Eve 2010, over 5,000 blackbirds plummeted from the sky in another small town in Arkansas, near Little Rock. This mysterious incident caused a media frenzy rife with doomsday prophesies and even a National Geographic documentary.
The Mother Nature Network notes that mass bird deaths bookend 2011. The year started with the aforementioned bird disaster and ended with another, albeit much smaller. Dec. 2011 marked other bird deaths outside of Arkansas. On Dec. 15, an estimated 1,500 eared grebes fell to their death in Utah.
Jacob Landrum told Arkansas' KTHV television he was driving through the middle of town, heading towards the Church of Christ, when dead birds started falling from the sky. The birds were all over the parking lot and in the road on the way here, he said. It's kind of a strange thing two years in a row.
Paul Begley, a pastor at the Community Gospel Bapist Church in Indiana, had another theory.
I was doing a live broadcast talking about bible prophecy and the end of the world, he said. And the birds started falling out of the sky again. Where's (horror blockbuster writer) Stephen King? He can't even write a script like this, this is God. It's not fireworks. If that was the case, on the Fourth of July every bird would fall out of the sky.
Other Arkansas residents claimed strange things happened that night.
Kevin McKinney, a Beebe resident, said, Fireworks going off all night and all day - no problems! he told KTHV. But when the birds started dying, I had my compass out: it went crazy, spinning and unable to find north.
Some had views not as sinister. Police Chief Wayne Ballew said: I guess we could have an annual blackbird watch. People can just bring their umbrellas and open them up and walk through the neighborhood and hope they don't get hit.