Written by: Damian Roache
For most people, the sight of dead birds raining down from the sky would be one of the strangest sights ever. In Beebe, Arkansas it is almost starting to be expected.
Last year residents of Beebe woke to find the dead birds, blackbirds to be specific, littering their lawns and covering their roofs. A loud fireworks display on New Year’s Eve reportedly caused the birds to fly around in confusion and fatally injure themselves as a result.
The event drew a whole host of media attention, and because of that the town was prepared for the same this year.
Saturday the blackbirds began falling again, prompting police to ban the use of fireworks. Police say that the first reports of dead birds started to come in around 7 PM. Working with the local animal control officials, police started to clean up the birds and attempted to get a count of the deaths.
While it is unclear exactly how many birds fell on Saturday, it is reported to be far less than a year ago when the dead birds numbered in the thousands.
A great deal of effort went into cleaning up the town in the aftermath. While the national media ran with the story and set off a debate on what caused the birds to fall, the people of Beebe were forced to deal with the consequences. Dead birds are not typically a hazard under normal circumstances, but with the number of birds being so high the health risks involved were obvious. What was for some people an amusing news story or a sign of end times ended up being a large and expensive mess for Beebe.
Following the huge amount of media attention from last year’s event, speculation about the bird deaths was rampant. Before fireworks were blamed for the deaths, some wild theories began to emerge about the birds and their cause of death.
The rain of birds proved to be the perfect magnet for people searching for signs of the coming apocalypse. Given the sudden nature of the deaths and the gruesome scene it left, many made parallels between what happened in Beebe and the famous Biblical plagues.
Speculation about the event was only made worse by another that took place last year. Thousands of dead fish washed up on the shore of the Arkansas River. Even though the two events were not connected, their proximity was seen by some as further evidence that something strange was happening in Arkansas.
Now, a year later, this is guaranteed to rekindle some of the apocalyptic talk as the New Year begins.