I am amazed that no one has commented on this
I started to write something about it on Friday, and then stopped because it was too upsetting to think of all those dead birds.
But this article caught my eye at the time, about turtle doves dying en masse in Italy.
More than 1,000 turtle doves fall from the sky in Italy in latest mass bird death casehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -case.html
After cavalcades of dead birds and fish from Arkansas and Texas to Sweden and New Zealand, tests are being carried out on the bodies of turtle doves in Italy after hundreds rained down near Ravenna.
For the last five days wildlife experts and officers from the forestry commission have picked up more than 1,000 turtle doves as well as other birds including pigeons.
Yesterday alone 300 corpses were recovered with all of them having a blue tinge to their beaks, which scientists say indicates poisoning or hypoxia which is lack of oxygen that can confuse animals.
The incident in the town of Faenza in northern Italy comes after a series of similar cases across the world in the United States and Sweden.
It is not just birds that have been affected, with millions of dead fish also washing up on river banks and coastlines.
The turtle dove case is the largest incident to have hit Europe so far – in Sweden 50 jackdaws were found dead. Italian officials said they expected results from the tests on Monday.
Most of the birds have been found around an industrial estate on the outskirts of Faenza but others have also been found closer to the centre in trees and on roads and pavements.
One local newspaper covering the incident wrote: "Let's hope it is poisoning or an illness because that would be easier to deal with than it being a sign the world is coming to an end."
Massimo Bolognesi, of the local World Wildlife Federation, said: "We first started getting reports on Sunday and since then they have been coming in every day.
"We have collected more than 1,000 turtle doves corpses but there is also the odd pigeon as well and all of them have this blue tint to their beak which could indicate poisoning or hypoxia.
"Tests are being carried out on the bodies by the local forestry commission and we should get the results next week but it's the numbers that make this such a notable event and for the moment it is a mystery."
The article contains links to other stories about this phenomenon. Hypoxia caused by something sounds plausible. From a layman's perspective.
This BBC piece offers some rational explanations, inlcuding the more prosaic and venal one of poisoning.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12135380
Some video links, courtesy of ABC News; the one that opens initially is the story about the incident near Ravenna.http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/BiannaGolodry ... e-12570637
I don't know. It's very strange. I've heard of birds dropping dead from the air from extreme cold, like in remote villages in Siberia where it's supposed to be so cold you can hear the air crack around you, but nothing like this, or so widespread, and affecting different species.
But many bird experts are pointing out that there's not necessarily any connection between the incidents, that it's not unprecedented, and that the numbers of birds involved is miniscule in global terms.
I guess it'll just stop, and we'll never really know why it happened. Hopefully.