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Dead Birds Fall From Sky In Italy: Mass Animal Death Mystery Solved?

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/10/11 11:55 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

Birds Fall From Sky

On Wednesday, it was reported that over 700 dead birds had fallen from the sky in Italy. The countless turtle doves were scattered about the town of Faenza, many with strange blue marks in their beaks that some officials suggested may have been signs of hypoxia. With the incident occurring in the wake of similar mass animal deaths that were recently reported across the world, the Internet lit up with theories ranging from the rational to the outlandish. But in the case of Italy's dead birds, it doesn't seem aliens or secret government weapons testing were to blame, but instead just... a bad stomach ache?

"We are fairly confident the birds died as a result of massive indigestion brought on by over-eating," Rodolfo Ridolfi, a director at the regional zoological institute, told The Daily Mail.

Nadia Caselli of an Italian bird association corroborated Ridolfi's findings, telling the AP that sunflower seeds from a nearby oil factory are likely the culprit, as they damage the birds' livers and kidneys, though full tests results are still yet to come.

Similar incidents of dead birds and fish in mass quantities were reported around the world in the last two weeks. The issues received notable attention first when nearly 100,000 fish were reported dead in an Arkansas river, and then 100 miles away, thousands of birds fell from the sky just days later on New Year's Eve. The mystery only got weirder in the following days when hundreds of similar birds fell dead from the sky just 300 miles away in Louisiana, and hundreds more dead birds were found in nearby Kentucky.

Following those incidents, reports of mass animal deaths from around the world began pouring in. The hundreds of dead birds in Italy were reported after dozens of dead birds were found in Sweden and millions of dead fish in Maryland surfaced alongside similar fish kills in Brazil and New Zealand, among others. An estimated 40,000 dead crabs were also reported to have washed ashore on England beaches.

The events are all likely unrelated, and officials have suggested various causes for many of the incidents, though in-depth tests are still being conducted. Fireworks are reported to have likely caused many of the dead birds to fall from the sky in the U.S. and unusually cold weather is believed responsible for others. Similar inclement weather as well as disease are thought responsible for many of the fish kills and dead crabs. According to the AP, mass animal deaths are not that uncommon.

Do you agree that indigestion is the likely cause of the birds' deaths in Italy, or do you remain skeptical? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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