Scientists are trying to determine what caused untold thousands of migratory birds to fall from the sky dead or dying across parts of the southwestern U.S.
The songbird fatalities could be linked to the thick pall of wildfire smoke they flew through en route from Alaska and Canada to their winter grounds in Central or South America.
Or they could have used up their fat reserves trying to fly around it before they perished in New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and parts of Nebraska. Some fear the smoke damaged their lungs. “They’re literally just feathers and bones,” New Mexico State University graduate student Allison Salas wrote on social media.
A mosquito population boom in the wake of Hurricane Laura’s fury in late August along the Gulf Coast has led to deer, cows, horses and other livestock being killed by the insects.
Animals as large as bulls have been drained of their blood and stressed to fatal exhaustion, according to veterinary experts at Louisiana State University.
The pests became so pervasive that several Louisiana parishes launched aerial spraying operations. Similar swarms occurred after Hurricane Lili in 2002 and Hurricane Rita in 2005.