http://geocommons.com/maps/55698 shows a map of the area upwind of Beebe, AR on December 31, 2011. The little orange dots are “fracked” gas wells in the Fayetteville Shale Play. (Fracking (fracturing) a well fractures the rock around the well to let the gas out quicker.) The little blue dots are earthquake centers for the previous year. It’s quite an active area, although most of them are small magnitude. The green dots are two quakes that occured on Dec. 31.
According to the Bird Radar Blog (http://www.birdradar.com/?p=290): “The radar data show an interesting “bloom” near Beebe at around 10:20 PM on December 31st. It is very unusual for blackbird species to leave a roost at night even when harassed intentionally by loud noise, pyrotechnics, or even fireworks. It is even more unusual that these birds would continue to stay in the air above the roost area for several hours after they first took flight. Again, the radar data show significant activity in the area for over 6 hours. During this time there is no evidence of significant precipitation near the roost. It is also unlikely that anyone in Beebe, Arkansas, had stockpiled enough fireworks to continue a significant show lasting through the night and into the early morning hours.”
I’m not going to argue with anyone who writes a Bird Radar Blog! There’s a video, too.
http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KLIT/2011/1/1/DailyHistory.html records that the winds were out of the NW at 5-10 mph.
Well, I don’t know much about birds, but I do know about:
- bureaucrats, and you can’t even get a “No Comment” past the Legal Dept. during a holiday weekend unless somebody BIG is putting the pressure on.
- business, and the WSJ never notices anything unless there’s $$$ in it. There wasn’t, ergo, it was a cover story for someone with $$$ who didn’t want any questions asked.
- big sky, little bird. We used to toss balls to each other simultaneously in the backyard, and even when we tried, they almost never hit each other.
Oh, and I do know this about birds — anytime I scare them, they all fly the same direction: away from whatever scared them!
So, we don’t know yet what did happen, but we know what didn’t: the official explanation that appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal the Monday morning after the incident. No way.