Why Do They Plunge from the Sky?

(Picture compliments of filminamerica.com)

Do you remember the other Hitcock movie that frightened us out of our wits (God, that man was a cinematic genius!)

I remember (after seeing it) being spooked at the thought of birds—from all over–targeting mankind as the enemy. After all, they attacked en masse the people of the town of Bodega Bay, in northern California, confusing their quarry (people), going for their eyes to cripple them, confounding their self-defense.

It was 1963, and I saw the action played out, in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “The Birds.” The movie was a good one, for it starred Rod Steiger, Grace Kelly look-alike Tippi Hedron, and Suzanne Pleshette. It was built around an interesting premise: Birds of all species rained war on humans and they did it anyway they could, by hitting them in wave attacks.

Oh, supposed experts in the town offered theories as to the birds’ bizarre behavior: Ornithologists thought humans had perhaps angered the birds for their disrespect of an environment they shared; perhaps they reacted to toxic man-made pesticides that had a deleterious effect on their fellows, wreaking revenge for their collective suffering.

I especially recall the schoolhouse scene where the camera followed one lone bird as it soared through the sky, only to alight on the schoolyard’s jungle gym. It was then the audience realized (and gasped) at discovering that one lone bird joined hundreds of other birds that perched on the metal bars, silently awaiting command. (I’ve never viewed a jungle gym the same!)

At some silent signal, they flew up in unison like flanks of a military convoy and bore down on the schoolhouse where children and teachers quaked against the onslaught. The bird behavior was admittedly bizarre, for bird species don’t usually co-operate and they’re usually non-aggressive towards humans. But in that movie, their behavior defied all normal expectations.

Now, they’re acting weirdly, again… but this time it’s happening in real life.

For instance, thousands of birds plunged out of the sky, to their death, in Arkansas and Louisiana, followed by another episode of strange mass-death in Kentucky. Experts offer theories: These birds may have suffered in-flight lightning strike or reaction to trauma following a New Year’s fireworks display. Proximity to high-voltage wires is offered as another explanation. Some suggest parasitic infection affecting the entire flock. But then again, “Why would thousands succumb at the same moment (precipitating their plunge from the sky)?”

Those theories disallow the real recent evidence (see link below) of blunt force trauma to many (as if an invisible giant force smote them down from above).

Is it strictly an American phenomenon? Decidedly not. There’s been a similar mass bird death in Sweden where they fell from the sky, too, by the thousands. And the mass animal deaths aren’t limited to birds. Tons of dead croakers, catfish, and sardines washed ashore on the beaches of Brazil, while thousands of dead snapper confounded the beaches of New Zealand. These accounts are enough to set off the apocalyptic prophets who prophesy the end of life as we know it.

Finally, others suggest these phenomena are warnings– like the canary in the cage (of a coal mine, warning of odorless gas emissions), bearing our watch. Biddy knows one thing: There will always be strange phenomena regarding life—and death– on this planet, telling us how very “clueless” we really are, regarding our world.

Every time we think we have all the answers, events occur to tell us otherwise. That’s OK, too, for that recognition (of what we don’t know) keeps us humble…and teachable.



First link above suggests technology is to blame for the mass animal deaths (find out “how?”) and second link cites “blunt force trauma” as culprit, again prompting the question “But what caused it?”)

More importantly, “What’s YOUR theory?” By all means, “Comment” or “Leave a Comment” in below-designated space…Your e-mail address is requested but never shared–promise! 

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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