In the city of Winnipeg on Wednesday more than 50 birds literally fell dead from the skies above. Residents in the North End of the Canadian municipality reported seeing hundreds of black birds - later identified as common grackles - flocking in an erratic manner around 8:00 AM local time, haphazardly converging atop and around trees, automobiles, and roadways.
A few hours later the bewildered black birds began dropping to the ground without any warning, littering the landscape with both the disoriented living and the hopelessly dead. About a dozen of those still alive were captured for study, and - while unable to walk or fly - were described by scientists as being active and alert.
Researchers are at a loss to explain why or how the event occurred; they assured reporters, however, there would be a perfectly logical explanation forthcoming, despite being utterly clueless as to what caused it. Sudden mass bird deaths can cause a variety of illnesses in humans, including West Nile virus, SARS virus, smallpox, tuberculosis, typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria.