BEEBE, Ark. (KTHV) As the ball dropped to ring in the new year, so did the birds in Beebe. A few hundred birds dropped from the sky around 7:00 Saturday night. And while the deaths are eerily similar to last New Year's day, many are suspicious. With good reason, according to Arkansas Game and Fish. Officers say someone targeted the birds this year.
"7:00 is when we started hearing the fireworks going off and some gun shots going off in the air and it really seemed like people were trying to recreate last year's new year's," says Sarah Roberts.
Roberts found several dead birds in her yard. It's a situation Horace Taylor with Animal Control is all too familiar with.
"We got a call about 7:15 from the police department and we came out and the birds were just coming down, not in groups like last year but there were plenty of them to be picked up," says Taylor.
You may remember, thousands of black birds fell dead from the sky January 1st, 2011. Officials say the birds suffered from blunt force trauma, likely spooked off the roost by fireworks. Just like clockwork, as 2012 neared the town, Beebe residents shot fireworks. Once the blackbirds started dropping, police officers put out an immediate ban on fireworks. Beebe Animal Control estimates about 400 red-winged black birds fell from the sky. They spent most of their New Year's Day picking them up.
Many, like Roberts, suspect people were out to copy last year's bizarre occurrence that put them in the headlines.
"It's almost a recreation of last year just smaller numbers," says Roberts.
Arkansas Game and Fish agrees. Genny Porter, the assistant chief of information sent this statement saying, "We know that there were evidence of fireworks set off in the middle of the roost, and it wasn't a coincidence."