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Or not. Really, please, or not.

Too often, this site has diarists who go off half-cocked, and way too many readers follow them off the cliff, rather than use the common sense that God gave them to recognize that there isn't enough evidence to support the conspiracy theory that's been floated. This diary bemoans that happenstance.

See, last year at this point in time, there were multiple diarists who freaked out over dead birds in Beebe, Arkansas. They assumed the worst, without any evidence. Over and over again. They unfairly and in direct contradiction to the actual facts, assumed that dead fish miles and miles away could be linked to the dead birds - despite the fact that birds like this don't travel more than 10 miles to eat, and the dead fish were 125 miles away, and any contamination that could have killed the birds wouldn't have flowed upstream and to another river to affect the birds. One diarist was so embarrassed by their diary's excesses that they deleted it after they couldn't defend the hysteria contained within it! Within that diary, however, as "ctami" noted,

Dissenters to Deep Harm's CT diary were objecting to the CT, not to alternative explanations. For their trouble they were labeled trolls by Deep Harm, and are now being HRed here{in a follow-up diary linked above and here too by another poster}.

In this comment later in that same string, you'll find a compilation of just a smattering of the CT from the now-deleted diary. There was a ton of evidence in that diary, evidence that made the diarist look really bad - insincere, insulting, and poorly informed. I linked to evidence in that diary of that behavior one too many times, totally refuting the claims the diarist was making, and I guess she felt like her only option was to delete the evidence so those of us who were pointing out her flaws wouldn't have that evidence to use anymore.

But as user Serpents Choice explained in a very well-sourced and detailed post,

First off, because several of these events happened at once, this has become a national news story.  But these events aren't actually rare.  They're just rarely reported on in this scope.

Dead birds have been found again in Beebe, Arkansas. It has happened, again, as a result of a huge flock of roosting birds being scared, in the dark, awakened out of their sleep, by noisy fireworks. They flew, in a panic, into tree branches, power poles, cars and buildings at fear flight speed, killing themselves in a failed attempt to escape what had awakened them. Birds like this have very poor night vision - one of the reasons they roost at night! When the cops first saw it happening last night, after it got dark and people started shooting off fireworks (down south, they don't wait until midnight to start with the fireworks) and they saw birds 'falling from the sky' once again, they banned the use of additional fireworks.

As I posted in a diary mere days after the first CT diaries on the bird deaths, a diary entitled "Extraordinary claims require Extraordinary evidence"

Strictly speaking, all claims require exactly the same amount of evidence, it’s just that most "ordinary" claims are already backed by extraordinary evidence that you don’t think about. When we say "extraordinary claims", what we actually mean are claims that do not already have evidence supporting them, or sometimes claims that have extraordinary evidence against them. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence because they usually contradict claims that are backed by extraordinary evidence.  The evidence for the extraordinary claim must support the new claim as well as explain why the old claims that are now being abandoned, previously appeared to be correct. The extraordinary evidence must account for the abandoned claim, while also explaining the new one.

In that diary, I gave multiple examples of users on this site running with conspiracy theories and having a ton of people buy into those conspiracy theories, including the bird deaths issues.

Last New Year's, there wasn't a shred of evidence that there was anything suspicious about the birds dying in Beebe, Arkansas. Yet many posters and a couple of diarists posited that there was reason to be suspicious. As I said above, one diary was deleted - a diary that made the Rec List in fact! It was deleted, as I said, because the diarist was flummoxed by the fact that her CT was exposed and ridiculed, and rather than admit it, she simply deleted the diary to hide the evidence of her reckless behavior. She deleted it to hide the fact that while the diary was on the Wreck List, and she was actively commenting on it, she failed to promptly update the diary with new, contradictory info that would have destroyed her main argument made in that diary! Eventually she did update the diary - after it had fallen off the Rec List. But then she continued to defend her CT, until she realized that everything she was claiming was undercut, and she freaked out and deleted the diary.

A couple of days later, that same diarist posted this diary about how some birds have been killed by poison set out by municipalities and state and federal government agencies. She posted this, in bold letters, in her diary.

So, why would it be a stretch to suspect the USDA Wildlife had a hand in AR and LA?

Well, it'd be a stretch because the government is willing to admit that they do, sometimes, put out poison, and because they denied that they'd done so in this case, and because it happened in the middle of the night, exactly when fireworks were going off, and because it all happened in the same evening, rather than over days when different birds would have eaten the poisoned bait, and because it happened hours after they would have stopped eating.

Many theories being floated about causes of the die off can be discounted, said Dan Cristol, a professor of biology at the Institute for Integrative Bird Behavior Studies at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. The birds couldn't have eaten a fast-acting pesticide because they would have eaten it during the day and died long before they began to roost at night, he said. A slower-acting pesticide wouldn't have affected them all at the same time.

All of which had been explained, multiple times, to this diarist, days before. So, even after being told that they were wrong, they continued to push their CT, defame the posters who had debunked their nonsense, and outright lie about other things. She even claimed in that second diary that the birds weren't found until the next morning. Bullshit.

The first calls about the incident came in at about 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, according to Keith Stephens, with the Game and Fish Commission. After we verified that this wasn't some kind of prank, one of our wildlife officers went over there and sure enough, there were birds falling," he said.

She was told in her earlier diary that a woman walking her dog was hit by one bird on New Year's Eve. Another bird hit a patrol car - and they know this because the cop was IN the patrol car at the time. They saw a lot of the birds that very evening. They found more when it was daylight. This follow-up diary was a desperate attempt to justify and validate the earlier diary, which had pushed an unsupportable conspiracy theory. And even in the follow-up diary, she was still pushing unsupportable assertions - that birds couldn't/wouldn't show signs of internal injuries and broken bones if they'd been startled and flown into stationary objects at 'fear flight' speed. Of course they would - because that's exactly what happened. It happened last year, and it happened this year, and the only reason we know about it is because the Internet pushes stories in a different way than used to happen. The conclusions she leapt to are unsupportable.

...the birds have to have been {my emphasis} poisoned by something.  Or a HAARP attack (unlikely).

No, they don't "have to have been poisoned" - in fact, the evidence we had at the time of the follow-up diary told us that poisoning couldn't possibly be the cause of the problem. The birds' stomachs were empty when necropsies were done, for one thing. For another, the birds didn't "drop from the sky". They hit objects and then died. After they hit the objects, they then fell down to the ground due to gravity. The necropsies showed that, and that info was available when the follow-up diary was published on 1/4/11. Or this story on CNN, published on 1/2/11?

..."It's important to understand that a sick bird can't fly. So whatever happened to these birds happened very quickly," (Ornithologist) Rowe told CNN Radio on Sunday.

"Something must have caused these birds to flush out of the trees at night, where they're normally just roosting and staying in the treetops ... and then something got them out of the air and caused their death and then they fell to earth," Rowe added.

Officials also speculated that fireworks shot by New Year's revelers in the area might have caused severe stress in the birds. Rowe said Sunday there was evidence that large fireworks may have played a role.

So, I want to know where the diaries are today, freaking out about the dead birds?

As user mem from somerville pointed out in her diary from 1/5/11,

Running with conclusions (is) a bad strategy.

Or as a scientist,user Eclectablog stated,

Let me give you a hint on how to tell a real scientist from a 'scientist':  a scientist will avoid speculation based on what a commenter on a political blog thinks and will wait for more facts to come in so that an informed decision can be made. A 'scientist' won't. They jump straight to comments like "they haven't found evidence of poisoning (yet)..." like Deep Harm did their diary yesterday, suggesting that it is only a matter of time before the Big Conspiracy is revealed.
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