This strange event happened to the small American town of Beebe on New year’s day 2011. The bodies covered an area of approximately one square mile. They were everywhere; in gardens, on roads, pavements, everywhere.
So, what was it that caused this mysterious event?
Medical examination of the birds showed that they had died of blunt-force trauma. This is usually explained by being hit by a hard object, or banging your head in a fall or being in a car accident. So, it appeared highly likely that the birds flew into walls, other hard objects or whilst hitting the ground. That seems to tell us how they died but why would so many birds do this over a small area and in such a short period of time?
This becomes an even bigger mystery if you consider that red-winged black birds rarely fly at night and when they do fly, they do it at a height as to avoid obstacles such as walls and buildings. However, the date may give us a clue. The evening before was New Year’s Eve and there were plenty of fireworks being let off in the town. There were also a number of reports stating that two or more large “bangs” were heard during the evening.
Putting all this together, the official reason given was that there was a large flock of resting birds who were frightened into taking to the air by the noise of fireworks and flash-bangs. They took to the sky but these birds have bad night vision, hence why they don’t fly at night, and so they flew lower than usual and didn’t see any of the obstacles in front of them.
That is the official explanation and it does fit all of the evidence as we have it. However, as with most mysteries, there are other more unlikely and even fantastic theories put forward to explain the event. So, without lending any credibility to any of them, here are a few other explanations.
One of the theories puts the deaths down to a sonic boom from some secret military weapon. Another argues that the military was testing out some new chemical and biological weapon in the area. Again, extremely unlikely as the literal “fallout” from such a decision becoming public would be horrendous.
There is another which blames it on the leak from some industrial plant. Once again, there is no evidence for this. But perhaps the most far-fetched of reasons put forward is the one that says the birds flew into a massive UFO. I’ll let you be the judge of that one.