As Discovery’s Emily Sohn writes,
“Such massive, dramatic and high profile events have fueled concerns that nature is coming to an end, or at least that something weird and disturbing is going on in the animal kingdom. But, experts say, massive die-offs like these are not at all unusual.”
Sohn talked to various nature scientists who assured her that all the “mass mortality events” are really no big deal. You get a few of them happening around the same time, I guess, and everybody freaks out. The ball gets rolling, and with our ever-increasing ability to know, within forty minutes, that a bunch of dead birds were found on a street in Sweden, well, the world’s a big place. If you go looking, you’ll always be able to find something. According to the United States Geological Survey, for example, there have been at least 16 die-offs of more than 1,000 blackbirds or starlings in the past 30 years. Swarms of bats and bees succumb to mysterious disease all the time, apparently, and thousands of fish go belly up every time it rains or something. The blackbirds in Arkansas were just scared and too stupid to not fly themselves really fast into things like houses and the ground. (Well, that’s not really fair: they were woken from their sleep by fireworks and can’t see well in dark. I regularly stumble into a wall or hit myself in the head with my refrigerator door late at night.) “They didn’t fall from the sky,” said Robert Meese, an avian ecologist at the University of California, Davis. “They flew from the sky. That makes it less weird.” (But more stupid. Poor, stupid birds.)
So end days may not be upon us after all. In fact, judging from this highly enjoyable new video from Canadian art-rocker Dan Bejar’s Destroyer, the earth’s environment is not only healthy enough to sustain beautiful flocks of wild geese, but majestic blue whales can join them in the sky with the floatation help of a small balloon tied on a string.
See, everything’s perfectly normal!