(NECN: Greg Wayland) - Thousands of dead birds and fish have been turning up across the country. This has sparked jokes about a looming "aflockalypse". But scientists say there's logical reasons for the deaths.
Stars fell on Alabama but black birds, starlings, sparrows and flocks of birds fell on Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. And during David Letterman's opening monologue a few nights ago, they fell on him too -- dozens of fake dead birds.
First the birds went down, then the fish came up belly up, in Maryland, Arkansas, Florida.
All around the southeastern United States, and all around the world, we got birds and fish croaking
Experts think severe cold in Chesapeake Bay and in Europe -- and maybe a little disease -- caused massive fish deaths. It happens from time to time.
But the birds?
Chris Leahy, of the Mass Audubon Society says, "high mortality is built into bird populations."
But five thousand dead blackbirds in Beebee County Arkansas?
Some say a New Year's Eve fireworks display scared them to death. Fireworks dealer Glen Judkins isn't buying it.
And Mass Audubon bird expert Chris Leahy says severe weather changes and a few fireworks could account for the death of a big fraction of the thousands of birds that roost in the southeast in winter.
"Red winged blackbirds, cowbirds, starlings -- vast numbers, roosts of hundreds of thousands in some cases. So the idea is that fireworks alarmed one of these roosts, the birds flew out and panicked."
And crashed into buildings and died. It's those unnatural deaths Leahy wants to stop, be it fish or their feathered friends.
Chris: "So it takes kind of looking at the individual situation, examining the victims and then figuring out what may have happened. "
So 2011 is getting off to a very bad start for birds. And you can't blame a blue jay for being a little paranoid.