Hundreds of yellow-headed blackbirds fell from the sky and hit the pavement in Northern Mexico. A security camera captured the strange event, which took place in Chihuahua, just 230 miles south of El Paso, Texas. The event occurred on February 7, leaving many curious as to why several of them died.
They were migrating from Canada after dealing with the harsh winter to the West-central States to spend the summer. Though a few managed to escape death, dozens of them were left not moving.
They often travel in large flocks, leading to such horrifying events happening during migration. Their group behavior is drastically similar to starlings.
Why did the birds die in Mexico?
Local authorities could not indicate why the event occurred. However, a veterinarian from Mexico placed the blame on high levels of pollution, driven by the use of agrochemicals and wood-burning heaters.
Another possibility could be that the birds were electrocuted while resting on power lines. Social media users stated that they must have fallen to their death due to 5G technology.
Ecologist Dr. Richard Broughton from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said that although there were no raptors seen in the footage, it is highly likely that the birds’ death was caused by a predatory raptor. The higher ones must have been forced to swirl downwards, causing the ones below them to crash into the building. He told The Guardian:
“This looks like a raptor like a peregrine or hawk has been chasing a flock, like they do with murmurating starlings, and they have crashed as the flock was forced low. You can see that they act like a wave at the beginning, as if they are being flushed from above.”
Dr. Alexander Lees, a conservation biology lecturer from Manchester Metropolitan University, agreed with the aforementioned possibility. He told the publication that one often places the blame on environmental issues. However, “collisions with infrastructures are very common.”
He explained that when large flocks fly together, the movement of the birds in the back is most often followed by those in the front. Dr. Lees said:
“It isn’t unexpected that such events happen occasionally.”
Many took to Twitter, coming up with conspiracy theories and expressing their sadness. A few tweets included:
This is not the first time there has been a flock dying simultaneously. In 2014, several of them dropped to the ground in St. Louis, Michigan. This occurred after they fed on insects and grub from contaminated soil.