What killed thousands of fish and birds in Arkansas?


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Around 100,000 drum fish have been found dead in a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Ozark – just after an estimated 5,000 Red-wing blackbirds fell dead from the sky in the town of Beebe, around 120 miles away. However, authorities claim that the two incidents are unrelated.

Officials think the bird deaths just before midnight on New Year's Eve may have been caused by lightning or stress from celebratory fireworks which scared the birds from their roosts. A helicopter flight by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) found no dead birds outside the small area.

Disease is thought to be to blame for the dead drum fish, as it seems that hundreds more of them are sick and have been sent to the University of Arkansas for tests. As it's only the drum fish that have died, the cause is unlikely to be down to a pollutant, as all the fish in the river would probably have been affected.

Andrew Goodwin, the associate director of the University of Arkansas' Aquaculture and Fisheries Centre, told AOL News he suspected that a drum fish population boom during the summer may have created more competition for food and sapped the weaker ones of their ability to fight off disease.

"During a cold snap the environment changes with the temperature, and their immune systems are compromised and can't always fight infection," he said.

It may take several weeks before the exact cause of the fish deaths are known. The video below shows one of the latest news reports.