An estimated 300 dead birds have been found on the side of the I-65 highway in Alabama, WAFF News reports. According to wildlife biologist Bill Gates, the birds are grackles, a common black bird, one of the same species reported in the past weeks to have been found dead in mass quantities in other nearby states like Arkansas, Louisiana and Kentucky.
Gates told WAFF that the feathers scattered across the location suggest trauma, and he believes a semi-truck or other vehicle may be responsible for their death. Samples are being sent to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin to run a series of tests to determine what caused the mass bird deaths, as disease or poisoning could also be to blame.
Over 100 birds were found dead on the side of a California highway this past weekend, and a collision with a big rig is also believed to be responsible for that incident. One witness allegedly saw the incident and said "it looked like they were committing suicide."
The reported incidents of mass animal deaths come on the heels of similar incidents cited around the world, which first gained widespread media attention when thousands of black birds fell dead from the sky in Arkansas on New Year's Eve, following a nearby mass fish kill in the week prior. A few days after that, hundreds of similar birds were reported dead 300 miles away in Louisiana. Mysterious bird deaths were also reported in nearby Kentucky.
The incidents aren't isolated to the United States, as hundreds of birds were reported dead in Italy, and dozens of dead jackdaws were also found littering a town in Sweden. Massive fish kills were also recently reported in Maryland, Brazil and New Zealand, and 40,000 dead crabs were reported to wash ashore on England's beaches.
Various reasons have been given by officials for the numerous incidents, which they say are unrelated. Fireworks are said to be the likely cause of many of the bird deaths in the U.S., with unusually cold weather also pinned as a possible suspect. Officials in Italy believe the hundreds of birds found dead there died from indigestion due to overeating. Many of the fish kills and the thousands of dead crabs have been suspected to be caused by cold temperatures as well.
The AP reports that mass animal deaths like these are not uncommon.