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Blunt Force Trauma, Not Disease Nor Poison, Killed Arkansas Birds

MSNBC reports that after preliminary autopsies on 17 of the thousands of blackbirds that fell from the sky in Beebe, Ark., veterinarians determined they died of blunt force trauma to their organs:

Their stomachs were empty, which rules out poison, Dr. George Badley said, and they died in midair, not on impact with the ground.

That evidence, and the fact that the red-winged blackbirds fly in close flocks, suggests they suffered some massive midair collision, he added. That lends weight to theories that they were startled by something.

CNN reports that the autopsies revealed trauma to the breasts and "internal hemorrhage." But, in conflict with MSNBC's report, Karen Rowe, an ornithologist for the game and fish commission, could not rule out that the trauma happened when the birds hit the ground.

For some more background, check out Mark's earlier post.

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