Friday, January 7, 2011

Is it an animal apocalypse? The recent spate of mass animal deaths around the world is sparking conspiracy theories and doomsday predictions on the web. From the US to New Zealand, from Britain to Brazil, bizarre cases of birds, fish and crabs turning up dead en masse have been reported in the past two weeks and no one seems to know why. Not that it’s stopping residents of the internet from having a red hot go. One example is from conspiracy theorists at who blame it on "the government". According to the site, authorities have “routinely engaged in secret testing of biological and electromagnetic weapons that have detrimentally impacted both humans and animals many times in the past”. Others are blaming it on the New Madrid fault line in the southern US. Then there are the 2012 end of the world predictions.

New reports -

FLORIDA, Port Orange - Hundreds of dead fish floated around the waterways near homes, surrounded by swarms of pelicans and buzzards. Kayakers on the creek saw fish around every bend and it appeared to be one of the most extensive kills they had seen.

KENTUCKY - several hundred birds were found dead in the western part of the state. The grackles, red wing blackbirds, robins and starlings were found last week. No reason has been discovered or given yet.

ENGLAND, Thanet, Kent, - 40,000 dead velvet swimming crabs, or “devil crabs” washed up on Thanet beaches. “We had a crash in numbers last year and we hadn't expected such a large population." The cold weather in Britain has been blamed for the deaths. "the mass crab deaths made up 95 per cent of marine life affected by the cold snap.

JAPAN - Recent discovery of several dead migratory birds in Japan has raised concerns about H5NI avian influenza. Bird sanctuaries, poultry farms and zoos were put on high alert last month after the migratory birds in some region were found dead. A hooded crane was found dead on the Izumi Plain in Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Japan, the largest wild crane wintering site and the nation's leading poultry-raising area. 23 birds were found dead following a search in Tottori in the north. The birds were being tested. In Toyama Prefecture, also in the north, a dead mute swan led to inspections of nearby poultry farms.

Maps of the mass die-off sites.

Reported previously -

ARKANSAS - 100,000 drum fish washed up along a 32km stretch. Fish kills happen every year, but the size of the latest one was UNUSUAL. Some sort of disease may be to blame. "If it was from a pollutant, it would have affected all of the fish, not just drum fish."

MARYLAND - Chesapeake Bay, an estimated two million spot fish died and washed up on the shore. The dead fish are mostly adult spot, with some juvenile croakers. State officials are investigating but suspect it was because of the near-record cold.

NEW ZEALAND - A "carpet" of hundreds of dead, mostly eyeless, snapper washed up on several Coromandel Peninsula beaches on Tuesday, leaving people mystified.

BRAZIL, Paranagu√° - At least 100 tonnes of sardine, croaker and catfish have washed up on beaches over the past week. Biologists have explained the deaths could be because of a possible increase in the concentration of algae that produce toxins. Water samples taken from the bay showed elevated levels of two species of toxic algae.

ARKANSAS, Beebe - 5000 red-winged blackbirds rained out of the darkness onto rooftops and footpaths and into fields. "They died from massive trauma. Some speculated that a bout of bad weather was to blame. Others said one confused bird could have led the group in a fatal plunge.

LOUISIANA - 500 bird carcasses littered a stretch of highway near Baton Rouge. The birds - a mixed flock of red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, grackles and starlings - may have hit a power line or vehicles in the dark. Two dozen of them had head, neck, beak or back injuries. The birds may have been ill or startled from their roost.

SWEDEN - About 100 jackdaw birds were found lying dead on the road in southern Sweden’s Falkoping,
Local veterinarian speculated that the birds had fallen from the sky after being frightened by fireworks set off late on Tuesday. The majority of the jackdaws involved were not "physically damaged."

**The unthankful heart discovers no mercies;
but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and,
as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find,
in every hour, some heavenly blessings.**
Henry Ward Beecher

This morning -

Yesterday -
1/6/2011 -

No current tropical cyclones.


Shift of Earth's magnetic north pole affects Tampa airport - Runway changes are needed to account for the moving magnetic pole, which is nearing Russia at 40 miles per year. Scientists say the magnetic north pole is moving toward Russia and the fallout has reached Tampa International Airport. The airport has closed its primary runway until Jan. 13 to repaint the numeric designators at each end and change taxiway signage to account for the shift in location of the Earth's magnetic north pole.
The busiest runway will be re-designated 19R/1L on aviation charts. It's been 18R/36L, indicating its alignment along the 180-degree approach from the north and the 360-degree approach from the south. Later this month, the airport's east parallel runway and the seldom used east-west runway will be closed to change signage to their new designations. The Federal Aviation Administration required the runway designation change to account for what a National Geographic News report described as a gradual shift of the Earth's magnetic pole at nearly 40 miles a year toward Russia because of magnetic changes in the core of the planet. [Some people are speculating that the bird and fish deaths are related to the magnetic changes.]