The latest incident in a recent series of mass avian deaths has landed right in our backyard in the North Bay. According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, more than 100 birds were found dead just South of Geyserville along Highway 101 on Saturday afternoon. Authorities, none of whom sound like ornithologists, say all of the birds appeared to be the same species - small with brown and black feathers - and that most of the bodies found on and around the roadway appeared to intact. None of the birds had been shot.

Local reps from the California Department of Fish and Game carted away a few samples for identification and autopsies, but have yet to release any insights in to what might have killed the birds. One theory speculated that all of the birds were "hit by a semi truck," which seems unlikely given the number of birds.

Elsewhere: thousands of birds fell from the sky on New Year's Eve in Arkansas, followed by a similar incident that saw hundreds of dead birds in Louisiana and later Kentucky, setting off a worldwide string of reports. In Arkansas, authorities suspect fireworks from New Year's Eve partiers startled the birds and "caused them to die from stress," while elsewhere unusually cold weather seems to be the culprit. According to the AP, mass bird deaths aren't really all that uncommon, so maybe everyone is just freaking out with 2012 looming over our heads.

[PressDemocrat] [NYT]