BEEBE, Ark., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Loud noise was likely behind the deaths of as many as 5,000 blackbirds in Arkansas on New Year's Eve, state wildlife officials said.
Arkansas State Veterinarian George Badley said examinations of several birds that fell to the ground showed they all died of internal bleeding, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Bradley said it's likely the booming of fireworks disoriented the near night-blind birds, causing them to cascade to the ground in the town of Beebe, northeast of Little Rock.
"We're still checking for germs and poisons but we believe it was just trauma," Badley said.
The earliest speculation was that the birds were caught in an electrical storm with hail, but Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Jeff Williams said storm system had passed the area 10 hours before the birds began hitting the ground.