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Thousands of dead blackbirds still cover Beebe

Almost 48 hours after clean-up crews started working in Beebe, yards are still covered in dead Blackbirds.
An estimated 2000-2500 blackbirds fell within a one mile area (Jeff Drennan)
An estimated 2000-2500 blackbirds fell within a one mile area (Jeff Drennan)
Almost 48 hours after clean-up crews started working in Beebe, yards are still covered in dead blackbirds.

"I've been to Iraq and back and not seen nothing like this," said Jeff Drennan in his backyard alongside his kids, and it's not the only backyard in his neighborhood still covered in dead blackbirds.

It all started New Year's Eve.

"Called the police department and told em, I was like I'm not drunk, I'm not on drugs," recalled Drennen, "and she immediately said, 'oh you're calling about the birds,' and I was like 'uh, yeah.'"

No one's sure why all of the birds died so suddenly. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has picked up 65 of them. They'll be tested Monday.

"Kinda worries me. You know my kids are out here playing and you don't know is it safe or, you know, cause they're walking around with chemical suits picking them up with gas masks and everything," said Drenenn.

Other neighbors are saying similar things, like Janis Donahue, whose husband spent a morning picking up the dead birds.

"He saw the blackbirds on the corner, he started picking them up, he picked up probably 35 or 40 in our yard ."

And it all leads to one question that nobody has been able to answer yet -- why?

"Maybe cold weather or something, I don't know," Drennan surmised. "Act of God, who knows?"

The reason for the birds' death could be answered as early as Monday when Game and Fish officers bring the 65 birds they collected to the lab. Officials say New Year's Eve fireworks startling the birds could be one reason for their death. Another possibility would be weather related, like lightning or hail. At this point Game and Fish experts do not think the birds' deaths are related to any kind of disease.
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