In the southwestern United States, thousands of birds have inexplicably fallen dead from the sky since mid-August, international media report Thursday. This mainly concerns migratory birds that flew to the south to hibernate.
Images of dead birds in the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and the slightly more northerly Nebraska were shared en masse.
Sudden bird death is not an unknown phenomenon in the United States. Scientists wrote last year that some three billion birds have disappeared across North America since 1970. Man would be responsible for that.
The current bird deaths are thought to be related to the massive wildfires in the western United States. The birds may be ingesting too much smoke and have suddenly had to adjust their usual route south.
As a result, the birds may have flown through areas where it has recently become much cooler. The impact of that temperature change is being investigated, writes BBC News.
Lots of dead warblers, swallows and flycatchers
Professor Martha Desmond of the University of New Mexico estimates that the number of birds that have died is already in the millions.
For the time being, many dead warblers, swallows and flycatchers have been found. They would have displayed strange behavior before their sudden death. Many of the birds are said to have become emaciated and may have starved to death.
Scientists have asked Americans to take the dead birds to research centers.