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Are experts on these bird deaths winging it?

By Lindy McDowell

Published 13/01/2011

What are we to make of the Aflockolypse - the global discovery of tens of thousands of birds which seem to have suddenly, for no apparent reason, dropped from the skies?

Dead as a duck (or in this case, several thousand ducks). From Arkansas to Italy, great flocks of our feathered friends have been plummeting to earth mysteriously wiped out by ... what?

Various theories range from shock at New Year fireworks (hardly a new thing, surely?) to very cold weather and poisoning.

Oh, and the inevitable one.

Global Armageddon.

The dead birds, wildlife and fish (Afisholypse) are being seen in some quarters as the forerunners of the Four Horsemen of the you-know-what.

And given our dodgy weather, international recession, WikiLeaks (is it just coincidence there's been a bird catastrophe in Sweden?), and now increased VAT, surely the signs are all pointing that way?

Or could it just be down to bird-brains over-analysing?

For those dead starlings, jackdaws and robins have not been the only winged victims to have hit the headlines in recent days.

In Saudi Arabia a vulture has been taken into custody on the grounds that it is a suspected Zionist agent. (The bird had been ringed by ornithologists at a Tel Aviv university.)

It's from Israel, it has to be blamed for something.

So far, however, the feathered arguido hasn't said a cheep during questioning.

Obviously not a pigeon then.

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