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No. 121: Jan-Feb 1999

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Starlings Fall Out Of The Sky

Late October, 1998. Tacoma, Washington. About 300 starlings dropped out of the sky on this date. Neither poison nor disease was the cause. The birds all suffered crunched chests and blood clots in hearts and lungs. Since starlings fly in tight formations, some speculated they had smashed into the side of a large truck (?), or perhaps a wind gust had thrown them to earth violently.

(Anonymous; "Bird Deaths Still Mystery," Houston Chronicle, October 31, 1998. Cr. D. Phelps. Also: Anonymous; "300 Starlings Drop out of Sky Dead," Scranton Times, October 31, 1998. Cr. M. Piechota.)

Comment. A much greater avian catastrophe took place near Worthington, Minnesota, March 13-14, 1904. After a storm, dead and dying Lapland Longspurs were strewn over a wide area. A scientist from the Minnesota Natural History Survey marked off squares in the snow covering two frozen lakes and began counting and counting and counting. On the lakes alone, 750,000 Lapland Longspurs lay dead. It was estimated that 1,500,000 died just in the area around Worthington. The injuries of the longspurs were much like those suffered by the starlings. (Details in our latest catalog: Biological Anomalies: Birds)

From Science Frontiers #121, JAN-FEB 1999. 1999-2000 William R. Corliss