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    Intense Lightning in Area of Beebe Bird Deaths

    January 3, 2011; 1:38 PM ET
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    Red-Winged Blackbird photo courtesy of Photos.com.

    A storm with strong lightning strikes moved through the area of Beebe, Ark., Friday, shortly before birds were reported falling from the sky.

    The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began receiving reports of dead black birds falling from the sky at approximately 11:30 p.m. CDT, according to a press release.

    "There was lightning in the area between 9:19 and 9:30 p.m. CDT," said AccuWeather.com Information Manager, Henry Margusity. "A couple of strokes had between 380,000 and 540,000 amps."

    There are estimates that more than 1,000 birds had fallen before midnight. The birds were found in an area that is 1 mile long and 1/2 of a mile wide. No birds were found outside of this area.

    Lightning, high-altitude hail or stress from fireworks are all factors that are being considered as a cause of death for the birds, according to the Associated Press. Poisoning is not suspected to be a cause.

    The AGFC collected 65 birds and sent them to be tested at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis. Testing will begin on Monday and may be complete in a week.

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