Blackbird Apocalypse

By James Donald

When I walked into work on January 3, 2011, I never expected I would be on a plane the next morning heading to Madison, Wisconsin to film a necropsy. The day started much like any other workday. I caught up on e-mails and was reviewing the news when a headline caught my attention: “In Beebe, Ark., 5000 Dead Blackbirds Drop From The Sky.” I then saw another article about a huge drum fish kill along the Arkansas River, only days before. The fish died 125 miles from Beebe (pronounced BB). My hunch (later proved wrong) was that the two events couldn’t be a mere coincidence.

I jumped on the phone and started calling people related to the story. I found out that a small set of (flash-frozen) blackbirds were being FedExed to the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) in Madison. They’d undergo necropsy—the animal version of an autopsy-on January 4. Director John Rubin was packing for a vacation in Mexico, and I had to figure out if I could set up a successful shoot in Madison on the next day and go direct it myself in less than 18 hours.

After getting the NWHC’s blessing to come film, I spent the rest of the day working with National Geographic to help fund a single-day shoot. (I offered a title for a potential film– “Arkansas Apocalypse”—which became “Omens of the Apocalypse”). After approval, I lined up a film crew, got my interview questions in order, solidified my travel plans, created an itinerary, packed and left the next morning at 3 a.m. for a 5 a.m. flight to Madison.

I arrived at the NWHC and met Branch Chief Scott Wright and pathologist David Green. I was then faced with a huge set-back: no one had told me that we would not be allowed to film in the necropsy area when dead birds were present unless we were wearing full hood respirator systems to protect us from possible infection from the carcasses.

To wear these suits, we would need our primary physicians to sign off on these OSHA forms. Cameraman Neil Rettig and I then spent an hour or two tracking down our respective physicians and filling out paperwork. I decided our lighting and sound crew would not even try to get permission; they’d work from outside the room.

The necropsy started promptly at 2 p.m. Neil’s OSHA clearance hadn’t come through yet, so he positioned a stationary camera on a tripod in the room, started recording, and left the room before the birds were brought in. I filmed from the side using a small camera. Neil’s clearance eventually came through and he joined me for the necropsy. We filmed it together with two cameras.

The necropsy of birds is a bloody business. Much of what we shot is too grisly to be shown on television. But all of us in the room could see the birds had no major bone breaks, just light internal bleeding. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. The birds had flown into fixed objects.

After the necropsy, the story kicked up a notch: more birds had died in Louisiana. In my subsequent interview with Scott Wright, I included a brief question on the interconnectedness of the animal deaths. He felt they were entirely coincidental and that there was nothing to fear.

On January 5, as I flew home, more animal deaths were reported around  the globe. Jackdaws in Sweden. Sardines in Brazil. Crabs in the United Kingdom. Red snappers in New Zealand. And so our film Omens of the Apocalypse was greenlighted. I had no idea where our story was headed.

Tune in tonight at 10P et/pt for the full story and check out a clip from tonight’s show:


  1. Maria
    March 22, 2012, 5:38 pm

    I just want to know when this documentary is going to be emited in Colombia

  2. Thomas Sinisi
    March 23, 2012, 3:44 am

    First I worked for the phone company in 1999. The year before I left there was a giant bird kill every in NJ. I saw dead birds on the roofs and many other places daily. That was when the Bird Flew just started.
    ON the Blackbird thing to prove most of the people thinking they just crash inot things. GO out at night where flocks are and set off a few ash cans. The birds will fly but you will not see dead birds any where. I was fishing on a lake and it was very dark where I was rowing itn to shore there where over a thousand Geese and all flew up funny not one hit each other not one dead the next day.
    Natural fish deaths. Fish without eyes. I was already told by a Native Elder that fish can get blind witht the sun if in clear water because of lack of the Ozone . Never mind I know for a fact the Gov have been putting black boxes in the ocean off the beach which keep dolphins away. That is only one thing I saw with my own eyes. The bird idea of two birds hitting each other and blowing out their lungs and their brians. they have to be hitting hard things. If they flew up natuarally then would not be flying into mailboxes and cars. They don’t hang out on the ground. What if the sound vibration that people are now starting to here is just getting louder and animals could here much sonner then humans can. We will see this year.
    My enemy is HAARP>

  3. Rich
    April 4, 2012, 7:39 am

    Take a look at what the first three months of 2012 have looked like, the events will startle you when you look at the big pic. There is no doubt that something is going on. This is an eye opener. Maybe the preppers have it right!

  4. sharon golgan
    May 18, 2012, 12:08 am

    I swear to you that it was the lunch lady and friends and neighbors at the Beebe high school cafeteria that shot off the professional fire works that night that caused the birds to take flight and get killed. I have tried to tell so many people about this but it seems no one wants to know the real truth about that night. Everyone likes to think it was something strange and mysterious. But it was simply nothing but some professional fire works that these people got their hands on. They refused to go to the police and tell the truth because they thought they were breaking the law. In fact they were. They could have been fined or arrested for firing them the way they did.