Entire flocks of dead birds falling from the sky is a somewhat regularly occurring, yet still mysterious phenomenon. In 2015, a flock of 2000 dead birds was found on an Idaho highway, and in 2011 a large portion of the town of Beebe, Arkansas was littered with thousands of fallen bird corpses. The phenomenon is so widespread that entire conspiracy theories and fields of semi-scientific research have sprung up around it.
In recent falling-flock-of-dead-birds news, residents of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston awoke to a macabre sight: scores of dead grackles littering the streets – and, strangely, a seriously ill cat.
Boston police officer Lieutenant Alan Borgal, a member of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, told local news outlet The Boston Herald that the birds fell around a Dorchester apartment complex:
These birds were literally falling out of the trees and the fences and stuff. We were just catching them so they didn’t hit the ground. It was all around this complex here. And we’ve seen a lot of small birds and they seem fine. It’s all grackles.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston reports that forty-seven grackles were found on the streets of Boston: twelve were pronounced dead on the scene, eight died en route to the shelter, and twelve more were euthanized once at the shelter. Fifteen of the birds remain in good condition at the Tufts Wildlife Center in Grafton, Massachusetts.
The cause of the birds’ deaths remains unknown, but the internet is already abuzz with speculative theories about what killed the flock, including the effects of climate change, a drone or UFO strike, or even biological weapons testing. Local animal and health officials are not speculating about the cause of the birds’ deaths, however, until toxicology and autopsy data are reported sometime next week.