The day after-A A +A
By Rox Peña
Thursday, January 6, 2011
ON THE first day of the year, the smell of gunpowder is still in the air. Huge piles of trash from the evening's revelry were left on the streets. Remnants of firecrackers, sparklers, roman candles and rockets litter the highways. Spent fountains were even left standing in the middle of the road by uncaring revelers.
The warzone-like scene on the first few hours of 2011 did not surprise me anymore. It's a yearly occurrence. I was however, stunned by what happened in the United States on the day after New Year. An unusual phenomenon happened in the state of Arkansas. Thousands of dead birds fell from the sky.
News reports and eyewitness accounts posted in the website allvoices.com said dead birds - ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 - fell from the sky in the area of Bebee in Arkansas. The cause of the fallout is still a mystery, but the dead birds were said to have signs of physical trauma. Some suggests that the birds were hit by lightning.
Another theory for the mass death is that the recent fireworks on the New Year eve may have caused the birds to leave their nests and die of stress. Arkansas State Veterinarian George Badley told the Wall Street Journal that thousands of red-winged black birds were frightened by fireworks and the entire group simply got confused and began crashing into solid objects, like houses.
The fireworks theory however has not been confirmed. Every New Year's Eve, fireworks are set off all over the world. So why did the mass death of birds happen only in Beebe, Arkansas? In the Philippines where firecrackers are almost as powerful as dynamites, there has been no reports of a similar incident.
A day after the incident of the falling birds in Arkansas, the same occurrence was also observed in Louisiana. According to reports also posted in www.allvoices.com, about 500 blackbirds and starlings have been found about 300 miles away from Beebe, Arkansas where the unusual incident was first observed.
Like in Arkansas, the dead birds were a number of red-winged blackbirds, starlings and blackbirds. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Office has been recovering as many of the blackbirds as possible for further testing.
The shocking news did not end with the birds. More than 100,000 fish have also died suddenly in Ozark, Arkansas, about 100 miles from where the birds died. Many are wondering if the fish kill and the falling birds are related to an unknown environmental or unnatural disaster.
Well, nobody knows yet if the two incidents are indeed related. Meanwhile, let's consider these unusual events as an early warning that if we don't act now, something worst might happen in the future.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 07, 2011.