BEEBE, Arkansas — New Year's revelers in a small Arkansas town were enjoying midnight fireworks when they noticed something other than sparks falling from the sky: thousands of dead blackbirds.
The red-winged blackbirds rained out of the darkness onto rooftops and sidewalks and into fields. One struck a woman walking her dog. Another hit a police cruiser.
Birds were "littering the streets, the yards, the driveways, everywhere," said Robby King, a county wildlife officer in Beebe, a community of 5,000 northeast of Little Rock. "It was hard to drive down the street in some places without running over them."
In all, more than 3,000 birds tumbled to the ground. Scientists said Monday that fireworks appeared to have frightened the birds into such a frenzy that they crashed into homes, cars and each other. Some may have flown straight into the ground.