REPORTS OF THE MASS DEATHS of animals keep coming: an estimated 2m dead fish have washed up on the shores of Chesapeake Bay in the US.
This latest discovery follows reports of thousands of blackbirds and starlings falling dead from the sky in Arkansas last weekend, and 500 dead birds falling over a short stretch of highway in Louisiana, some 300 miles away.
Yesterday, the Local reported that between 50 and 100 birds were discovered dead on a street in Falkoping, Sweden.
One vet speculated that the birds landed on the road after being frighted by New Year’s fireworks, and were then run over.
Tests are still being run on the birds in the US to determine the cause of death. Early examinations showed they had suffered serious internal injuries and speculation over the source of those injuries has ranged from fireworks forcing the birds to fly low and strike objects, to an avian illness.
Tens of thousands of dead fish were also discovered at the weekend in Arkansas, but experts in the US have already said they do not believe the two events are related and that the fish, which were of one species, were likely to have died as a result of an infection.
The Baltimore Sun reports that state officials suspect cold temperatures may have killed the fish discovered at Chesapeake Bay. Water quality in the bay does not appear to be a problem, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment, but the average air temperature in the area was more than four degrees lower than normal last month.
In Britain, the cold weather and low sea temperatures are thought to have killed thousands of Velvet crabs, the Daily Mail reported yesterday.
Over 40,000 crabs and a smaller quantity of whelks, sponges and anemones were found washed up along the Kent coast. Like Ireland, Britain has been experiencing a much colder winter than usual this year, with severe icy spells and snow.