Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor, reports on the unsolved mass die-offs:
Thousands of red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, starlings, and grackles dead in Arkansas. Five hundred more in Louisiana. Fifty jackdaws fall on a street in Stockholm. And around the world, millions of fish floating belly-up.
It’s the stuff of apocalyptic novels. Scientists have not yet ruled out pollution or chemical toxins as the cause of nearly a dozen mass animal die-offs, from Arkansas to Brazil, in the last week. But as officials investigate, both the mundane and the intriguing are emerging as potential causes.
Because birds are considered indicator species that reflect the health of the surrounding environment, the spate of mass deaths has unsettled many Americans.