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No. 57: May-Jun 1988

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Mysterious Bird Deaths

"An eight-year study by Indian zoologists has failed to establish why birds commit suicide year after year at the small village of Jatinga in the northeastern state of Assam.

"Attracted by the lights, birds converge on Jatinga at night and on landing become immobile, stop feeding and starve. They neither resist capture nor try to fly away."

The mysterious phenomenon dates back to 1905. It peaks in September and October, as the monsoon season wanes, with as many as 500 birds, from some 36 species, dying each night. The birds alight at the same spot each year -- a one-kilometer stretch in the town. No one can account for the selection of this precise spot or for the dazed condition of the birds. (Jayaraman, K.S.; "Mystery of Bird Deaths in Assam," Nature, 331:556, 1988.)

From Science Frontiers #57, MAY-JUN 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987