TODAY   |  January 04, 2011

Arkansas’ animal deaths: Coincidence or conspiracy?

Aliens, Armageddon, fireworks? The Internet was ripe with theories over what caused as many as 5,000 birds and 100,000 fish to instantly drop dead on New Year’s Eve. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> expected next week on some of the thousands of dead birds that suddenly found on a small arkansas town on new year's eve. janet shanlian joins us from bebe, arkansas with more on this story.

>> none of the experts have been able to say for certain exactly why this happened. but it is like something out of a real life horror film . thousands of dead birds falling from the sky on this neighborhood on new year's eve. thousands of dead black birds on front lawns and so concentrated in the streets drivers struggled to avoid them.

>> we probably had 14 or 15 just in the front yard .

>> reporter: as many as 5,000 carcasses spread within a one mile radius. the investigator who examined the birds said they died from blunt force trauma in the air. was it lightning? high altitude hail? or fire works?

>> they were like they were hit by something.

>> reporter: beyond the birds and adding to the mystery, a massive fish kill also here in arkansas just one day earlier. as many as 100,000 drum fish dead along a 120-mile stretch of the river. the experts call it coincidence.

>> extremely unusual, having two events like this at practically the same time. we don't think there's any connection whatsoever.

>> reporter: and here's the latest chapter. this morning we have new reports of yet another bird kill, this one happened in louisiana about 500 of the same type of birds, the black birds near a high school .

>> and the plot thickens. okay, jan