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Assistant State Veterinarian Brandon Doss examines dead red-winged blackbirds at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Diagnostic Laboratory. Thousands of the birds died from blunt force trauma, investigators say.

Arkansas– Scientists investigating the death of thousands of blackbirds in Arkansas say they’ve identified the cause of death: blunt force trauma.

Locals in Beebe, Ark., were mystified when as many as 5,000 red-winged blackbirds dropped out of the sky Dec. 31.

Studies commissioned by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ruled out possible causes such as disease and poison.

The tests revealed hemorrhaging “consistent with blunt trauma,” according to a Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. “In most instances, such traumatic injuries in wild birds are due to flying into stationary objects such as trees, houses, windows, power lines, towers, etc.”

In Arkansas, the mystery of the red-winged blackbirds may be solved, but officials are still mystified as to what killed more than 80,000 freshwater drum in the Arkansas River last December.



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