The birds and the bees… and now the fish?

The sudden deaths of birds and fish over the last week is not nearly as befuddling as the lack of attention the story is receiving in the media.

Dead birds in Louisiana (photo credit: AP. Dead birds in Louisiana)
Dead birds in Louisiana
(photo credit: AP. Dead birds in Louisiana)
2010 was an odd year. Australia enjoyed a white Christmas – particularly baffling considering the holiday falls in their summer. Northern Europe and the US braved the coldest weather in decades, while on the other hand Israel sweltered in what was the hottest year in recorded history. For the Jewish state, the year was ushered out with blue skies and a president disgraced. But if the first week of 2011 is anything to go by, we may be heading for the strangest year yet.
RELATED:More than a 1000 dead birds fall from sky in US
Last weekend, the sun finally relinquished the Israeli skies for much needed rain. However, it wasn’t rain that was coming down last week in parts of the US and Europe: Cats, dogs and even men yielded the skies for hundreds of birds to plummet, quite dead, onto dry land. So far, Arkansas, Louisiana, Italy and Sweden have all reported the mysterious bird plague when thousands of the unfortunate fowls were found splattered in the streets. But birds are not the only victims of the Y2K11 bug. Kentucky, Maryland, Brazil and New Zealand all reported mass fish deaths when millions of fish corpses of different varieties washed up on shores.
A couple of years ago a story broke out about the mass deaths of bees in the US. And despite $20 million invested per year to investigate Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) – a term used since 2006 - scientists are still mystified. And the deaths are only increasing, with twelve more countries reporting similar phenomena. As in the bird and fish cases, many scientific explanations have been offered but so far nothing has been confirmed.
But perhaps the most remarkable thing about these deaths is their paltry newsworthiness in the worldwide media. The dead bird/fish reports have been invariably relegated to the “…and Finally…” section of news outlets usually reserved for those quirky stories that aren’t worthy of making “real” news. No doubt this article itself will be dubbed a fluff piece - or in more cynical journalistic terms, a last-resort filler.
I walked into The Jerusalem Post’s offices and mused aloud as to why these stories weren’t making headlines across the globe. What on earth was happening, and why were emergency conferences with heads of state not being convened to discuss what has thus far been a largely inexplicable phenomenon? Without even raising her eyes from her computer screen, one journalist shrugged and said, “Maybe it’s the Apocalypse.” When pressed further as to why she was so blithe about the possible cessation of the universe, she replied, “It’s our job to tell of things that are happening. If a UFO landed on the Temple Mount, we’d report it. But if there’s no viable explanation for it, it might not make the top story.”
So for fear of resorting to outlandish theories such as the realization of the Mayan 2012 end-of-the-world prediction, or alternatively, a reverse-Genesis occurring 5771 years later (“….on Day 5, fish and birds are created”), I’m inclined to shelve this conundrum along with the wacky weather that befell the world this year and last. But perhaps before I do, for all those conspiracy buffs out there seeking a hint of what’s to come, perhaps it’s worth noting Day 6 of Genesis:  “And God said, let us make man.”