|Updated: 1/01/2012 7:25 pm
||Published: 12/31/2011 8:42 pm
BEEBE, Ark. (AP) - The state Game and Fish Commission said Sunday that people targeted a blackbird roost in a central Arkansas town on New Year's Eve, leading to about 100 birds dying in the community where thousands of the birds died a year before.
The bird deaths a year ago in Beebe, which were followed by a fish kill, prompted some to speculate that the carnage was a sign of the world ending.
This time around, the count of dead birds in the town was more modest.
"We know it was fireworks that did it based on the research we did last year, based on the large number (of blackbirds) that died," Game and Fish spokeswoman Ginny Porter said Sunday. "There was evidence at the roost of fireworks."
Fireworks are legal in Beebe, about 35 miles northeast of Little Rock. But police asked people to stop setting off the explosives Saturday night when the first dead birds began to fall from the sky.
Porter said fireworks went off at the roost about 7 p.m. Saturday and again around midnight.
Wildlife officers and local law enforcement patrolled the area, but no one was cited overnight. "They tried, but they didn't catch them," Porter said.
She said any charges would be up to local authorities, though blackbirds are also a protected migratory bird under federal statutes.
Beebe police Lt. Brian Duke said officers are still gathering information and more could be known on Monday. He said it would be hard to single out which person set off the fireworks that caused the latest bird deaths.
"I doubt you could figure out which (person) set off the fireworks that spooked them," Duke said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)