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Tests start on bizarre Ark. bird, fish deaths

January 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Testing begun Monday on thousands of birds and fish that died over the New Year's weekend in Arkansas.The eerie deaths started New Year's Eve when as many as 5,000 black birds fell from the sky within a five mile area over the city of Beebe.

Then a little more than 100 miles away from there, 100,000 drum fish washed up along the Arkansas River.

Some residents were unnerved.

"I thought the mayor was messing with me when he called me," said Milton McCullar of the Beebe Street Department. "He got me up at 4 a.m. saying we had birds falling out of the sky."

Scientists have offered up some explanations for the deaths.

They say disease is likely to blame for the fish dying.

As for the birds, they say hail, lightning or even fireworks could be to blame.