Japan on Alert After Finding Dead Birds
January 3, 2011
TOKYO, Jan. 3 (UPI)
Recent discovery of several dead
migratory birds in Japan has raised concerns about H5NI
avian influenza, avian experts said.
Bird sanctuaries, poultry farms and zoos were put on high alert
last month after the migratory birds in some region were found
dead, The New York Times reported Monday.
The Times cited Japanese media reports collected by ProMED,
which monitors disease outbreaks. The reports included one that
a hooded crane was found dead on the Izumi Plain in Kagoshima
Prefecture in southern Japan, the largest wild crane wintering
site and the nation's leading poultry-raising area.
The reports said 23 birds were found dead following a search in
Tottori in the north. The birds were being tested.
In Toyama Prefecture, also in the north, a dead mute swan led to
inspections of nearby poultry farms. In Hyogo Prefecture on
Japan's Inland Sea, officials decided to stop displaying white
storks, a national treasure, to prevent exposure to any likely
infected wild birds.
Deaths of birds and fish en masse stir
by Jill Rosen
January 6, 2011
of washed-up fish and downed birds have many people
scratching their heads, and jumping to conclusions.
and croaker fill a shoreline in Stevensville, Md. Millions
of the fish are
believed to have died in Chesapeake Bay.
the frigid water temperature.
Associated Press / January 6, 2011)
Reporting from Baltimore -
After millions of tiny fish went belly up in Chesapeake Bay this
week, much of the populace immediately dismissed the official
scientific explanation (the water was just too darn cold). What
made more sense, they reasoned?
The approaching apocalypse. Of course.
The troubling fish kill, coming as it did on top of reports of
birds in Arkansas and Louisiana falling from the sky en masse,
had some scratching their heads.
And jumping to conclusions.
American Wildlife Cursed?"
AOL asked in a headline over a story that began, "Maybe it's
time to start storing those emergency food rations."
Conspiracy theories raged on blogs,
Facebook and Twitter.
People sent countless panicky
"So they['re] blaming dead
birds on loud noises and dead fish on the water being
too cold.... Are we supposed to believe that?!?"
"Between all these dead
birds and fish around the USA, I think 2012 may be it
after all, drink up gang."
Some were more to the point:
"WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!"
Though officials in Maryland
immediately explained what caused the deaths of millions of spot
and croaker, people weren't willing to buy "cold-water stress" -
not with so much other environmental upheaval underway.
First, in Arkansas, 83,000 dead drum fish washed up along the
Arkansas River. Then, on New Year's Day over the small town of
Beebe, about 100 miles from the dead fish, as many as 5,000
red-winged blackbirds fell to the ground, dead.
Alfred Hitchcock might have envied the austere shots of horror
captured on film - all those still birds lying on highways,
sidewalks and the brown grass of winter lawns. The cause of
their deaths only deepened people's unease: blunt-force trauma.
Blunt-force trauma? What?
Then, a couple of days later in Louisiana, hundreds more birds -
blackbirds, starlings, brown-headed cowbirds and grackles -
expired in a similarly bizarre fashion.
Theories about how that could happen, not once but twice, flew
faster than feathers. Hail. Lightning. Power lines. New Year's
George Washington University religion professor Paul Duff,
who has studied the Book of Revelation and the
apocalypse, didn't seem particularly alarmed about all this
when reached for comment Wednesday.
In fact, he wasn't even gathering
food rations; he was catching up on work in his office.
"There has not been a generation
that has not cried, 'The end is near,' " he said.
Duff said the disturbing nature of
the wildlife deaths, combined with the unanswered questions
behind some of them, create the perfect climate for a doomsday
Even if all the poor birds and rotting fish portend nothing in
the end, Duff has little doubt that the apocalyptically inclined
will not drop their case.
"When they expect [doomsday] to
come and it doesn't, they don't give up that belief," he
said. "They'll just recalculate. And push [the date] forward