Environmental service workers finished picking up the carcasses on Sunday of about 2,000 red-winged blackbirds that fell dead from the sky in a central Arkansas town. Mike Robertson, the mayor in Beebe, told The Associated Press the last dead bird was removed about 11 a.m. Sunday in the town about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock. He said 12 to 15 workers, hired by the city to do the cleanup, wore environmental-protection suits for the task.

The birds had fallen Friday night over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area. Speculation on the cause is not focusing on disease or poisoning.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said Saturday the birds showed physical trauma, and speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail."

The commission said that New Year's Eve revelers shooting off fireworks could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress.

COMMENT: The setting off of fireworks is one of the most selfish, speciopathic (new word copyright MadPriest January 2011) pastimes that humans engage in. I won't go into detail about where I would like to shove those rockets but I expect you will get my drift anyway.



  1. Case of love me love my dog? May I remind you of your own sidebar headline? You don’t have to be like me and I don’t have to be like you.

    Fireworks in the right time and place are fine. It’s when they are used without thought or concern that they become a problem. I’m not dismissing the stress they cause to some animals, just as thunderstorms can provoke similar nervous reactions, but not all are adversely affected.

    And as yet the theory about the fireworks being the cause of the blackbird deaths is just that, a theory. A working supposition not yet proved.

  2. Like thunderstorms, floods are natural phenomenon. But that does not mean it is right to blow up a damn.

    As for the not having to be like me, I’m not saying people cannot enjoy fireworks, I’m simply saying they shouldn’t let off the ones that go bang or the ones that shriek. I like to play my music loud but I choose not to do so in case it annoys my neighbours.

  3. I love organized fireworks. They have become so fanciful and fun. I can endure the noise for half an hour or so. But I intensely dislike the stuff the neighbors set off randomly. I agree with the best placement for those.

  4. Are you sure it was fireworks? This could be an X files case. Somebody call Mulder and Scully! The truth is out there. 😉

  5. I’m simply saying they shouldn’t let off the ones that go bang

    Is that not all of them? O_o

    If the set is defined as “gratuitous human pleasures which never help and sometimes harm non-human animals” wouldn’t that be a large, LARGE list? With fireworks a comparatively tiny subset thereof?

  6. Yes, JCF, but it is one that we could strike off the list very easily and the only people who would suffer any real loss would be the firework makers. If I was in charge I would compensate them for their loss.

  7. My awesome twosome (Boo and Doc) hid under my bed and didn’t come out until well into the night on New Year’s eve due to the neighborhood fireworks. When they finally came to bed, they stayed as close to me as possible. They are terrified of fireworks–also thunderstorm, the Good Humor person and teenage boys with souped up pickup trucks that have sound systems that are going to cause them deafness by the age of thirty.

  8. They are terrified of fireworks–also thunderstorm

    {Pictures MP shaking his fist at the stormy heavens—hopefully not wearing metal: “Bastard!”}

    the only people who would suffer any real loss

    The loss of pleasure isn’t a real loss? [Yes, I love fireworks]

    I’ve never forgotten this phrase, from the first (U.S.) War on Iraq: “the missile landed harmlessly in the Gulf.”

    There’s harm, and there’s harm: only after ALL military arms are banned—y’know, those that are DESIGNED to inflict pain&death (and may then also do so incidentally, as w/ any marine life that missile landed on)—THEN I might further consider banning those explosive devices designed to entertain (humans).

  9. From a utilitarian perspective the loss of pleasure by humans would be greatly outweighed by the loss of pain by animals and those humans for whom explosions conjure up memories of your military planes. And the loss of such an ephemeral pleasure is not harm – we would suffer neither physically or mentally. And I know you don’t mean to say that we should do nothing unless we can do everything at the same time. That is just silly.

  10. It sounded like election night in Fallujah, here. I don’t see the need for the fireworks, nor the enjoyment of something that makes a loud, non-musical noise. I like Bengal torches because they’re pretty, but other than that, I think it’s drunks with a need to act like drunks in the most drunken way possible while drunk.

  11. Why the Zero Sum here? “We can only minimize animal pain by eliminating human pleasure”?

    Pain and pleasure are ALWAYS subjective: I can’t judge someone’s pain, anymore than anyone else can judge my pleasure. [Humans remember loss-of-pleasure however, and that itself counts as pain. {{{Ex-addicts remembering their highs}}}]

    And speaking of combustible substances which produce subjective pleasure for some, while FAR more pain for others, howzabout banning…?

    Nah, shutting up now. Bloody Awful Yank here still looking forward to 4 July. Put your pets in inside rooms, w/ masking white-noise…

  12. Humans remember loss-of-pleasure however, and that itself counts as pain.

    Bollocks! You would have to take more pleasure out of their lives than a few sparkly things in the sky that go bang a couple of times a year to actually cause them pain. And the fear in a dog’s face when fireworks are going off is as easy to read as the look on your face would be if a plane you was on was hijacked by the Taliban.

    I’ve never heard such lame excuses to justify such a silly and obscenely expensive pastime.