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Showers of blackbirds air out conspiracy theories

By Jeannie Nuss

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 7 2011 3:22 p.m. MST

Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Brandon Doss examines dead red-winged blackbirds at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Diagnostic Laboratory in Little Rock, Ark., Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. Scientists are investigating whether bad weather, fireworks or poison might have forced more than 3,000 red-winged blackbirds out of the sky, or if a disoriented bird simply led the flock into the ground.

Danny Johnston, Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The moon turns blood red in an eclipse. The earth shakes. And the world keeps spinning, even though these events fit into apocalyptic predictions.

So why, when swarms of winged creatures hit the dirt in Arkansas and elsewhere, do some indulge their inner conspiracy theorists?

Religious studies professor Bart D. Ehrman says there's no Bible verse about birds falling out of the sky.

But that hasn't stopped the speculation about the birds, the first of several mass wildlife deaths that some people saw as a conspiracy: A UFO. The government. A government-controlled UFO.

Scientists say celebratory fireworks on New Year's Eve likely sent the birds in Beebe, Ark., into such a tizzy that they crashed into homes, cars and each other.

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