The trauma was primarily in breast tissue, with blood clots in the body cavity and internal bleeding. All major organs were normal and the birds appeared to be healthy. Gizzards and stomachs of the birds were empty.
According to the report, “Further tests will be done to rule out other causes, but the birds suffered from acute physical trauma leading to internal hemorrhage and death. There was no sign of any chronic or infectious disease.”
It’s not apparent what caused the bird’s unusual behavior, although loud noises were reported shortly before the birds began to fall from the sky. Blackbirds have poor night vision and do not typically fly at night.
Beginning at about 11:30 p.m., Dec. 31, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers received reports of blackbirds falling from the sky in a square-mile area of Beebe. It’s estimated that up to 5,000 birds fell before midnight. Most of the birds were dead, but some were alive when officers arrived.
The AGFC flew over the area in a helicopter to gauge the scope of the event. No dead birds were found outside of the initial area of fallen birds.
But residents are having a hard time believing what officials are saying.
"Yeah it is freaky, it's freaky, you would never expect that many birds, dead everywhere,” said Carol Sullivan.
The day the blackbirds fell from the sky, still very much on Beebe residents' minds Monday.
Though most have been removed from their yards and streets, still some of the nearly five thousand dead birds remain, littering fields, laying on roofs.
"No one really knows what's happening. Theres a lot of people worried if it's a health issue, but until we know we just kind of sit back and wait,” said Sullivan.
Seeking answers, Game and Fish officials sent dozens of black birds off to three separate labs.
"It doesn't seem to be diseases at all,” said David Goad.
Instead, David Goad with Game and Fish says they think fireworks New Years Eve may have startled the birds from their regular roost. Disoriented and lost, he says they proably ran into each other, cars, trees, even mailboxes. That's why, they say, the birds were so spread out when they died.
"If it had been poison or disease there would have been a big pile of dead birds at the roost site and that wasn't the case either,” said Goad.
"I kind of don't buy that, no,” said Sullivan.
But some residents say that answer doesn't seem to add up.
"Granted we don't get that kind of bird in july, but in July it's crazy here with fireworks and you don't see any dead animals or birds,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said she heard birds falling down dead even before she heard any fire works that night.
Butt the Beebe Mayor says he thinks more people were shooting fireworks than on the average New Years Eve.
We're told these birds do not roost in the area year round, that's the reason, some say, we haven't seen any other die-offs like this, say at the Fourth of July.
Still, the Mayor and the city council will consider amending city laws that allow shooting fireworks in the city, the Mayor says to make sure this doesn't happen again in the future.