Jan 8, 2011

The Birds... and Fish

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Well, the bird story just gets stranger and stranger. It was weird when it was just in Arkansas but the bird and fish kills are now being reported around the globe. Somehow, I was not mollified by the theory that they were startled by New Years Eve fireworks. Until I learn that there've been thousands of bird deaths every New Years and Fourth of July that have been previously unremarked upon, I will remain unconvinced. The fireworks theory is also undercut by the fact that birds are continuing to drop out of the sky all over the globe, with the most recent shocker coming out of Italy, where it rained 8,000 dead doves.

Reading the dove story this morning was something of a synchronicity for me. Last night, discussion of the bird deaths caused me to ruminate on a darkly comic anecdote from college theater days. I will probably get some of the details wrong, but this is how I remember it. One of the technical theater students returned from doing summer stock with this tale of stagecraft gone horribly wrong. He had been working on a production of The Sound of Music. In a daring attempt at spectacle, the director had called for live doves to be released during the opening number. There was some concern from the techs about the difficulty and expense. I, for one, would have had even larger concerns about things like bird crap on audience members, but I wasn't there. Besides, any objections were overruled. This was a director with a vision! So, cages with drop out bottoms were strung up above the stage. Doves were purchased and secured in the cages on opening night to be released at the appropriate moment. But, it seems, the cages were a bit too close to the lights. When the intrepid young actress playing Maria appeared onstage and began to belt out "The hills are alive..." she did so amidst the disturbing spectacle of dead, baked doves plummeting all around her like some bizarre snow storm.

Well, similar blizzards of bird corpses have now been experienced in locations all over the world. I had begun tracking the weirdness here but it started to get ridiculous and a little hard to keep up. The birds and fish deserve a stand alone post. My question remains, however. Is it the apocalypse?! I mean... dead birds are dropping by the thousands out of the sky.

And then there are the fish. Scores of them -- two million in Chesapeake alone -- are washing up dead on shores around the world. Birds of the air, fish of the sea, just inexplicably dying in droves.

Another funny, little synchronicity keeps popping into my head. I watched -- and enjoyed very much -- the Doctor Who Christmas special. In this terraformed, Dickensian world, the fish -- and sharks -- fly through the air like birds. The effect, like so much of the newest iteration of the series is hauntingly beautiful.

My first thought, in response to the New Years bird kills in Arkansas, was toxicity from this summer's massive oil spill in the gulf. Mostly because no one knows what the effects of all those illegal dispersants will be. The possible effects of gulf weather streams moving through Arkansas and Louisiana is discussed here. But, again, there are incidents being reported all over the world. Although, according to this map, which was up to date as of a few days ago, most of the incidences appear to be in the US.

One theory has to do with the rapid shifting of the magnetic poles confusing their natural navigation systems. We just went through a north pole migration so abrupt that the Tampa, FL airport closed down to reconfigure its runways.  In another earth change related theory, George Ure has some speculation about it being tied to earthquake activity, which could also be connected to changes in the earths magnetosphere. I'm not saying this is  precursor to pole shift but, then, who knows. The whole thing is just weirder than heck.

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