Now It's Dead Doves Falling From Sky in
Initial testing of about 8,000 of the doves indicate the blue beak stain might be from lack of oxygen or poisoning. More conclusive test results may be available next week.
Just hours before the dove die-off, scientists in the U.S., Europe and Africa were debunking the conspiracy theories and "Aflockalypse" fears that have swirled around the mass bird and fish deaths in the past two weeks.
"This is a classic example of freak events coinciding," Petter Boeckman, a zoologist at the Norwegian Natural History Museum, told Reuters.
Boeckman echoed other experts who said that big animal die-offs are not uncommon but often occur in rural areas and went largely unreported in the days before cell phone cameras, YouTube and Twitter.
Italy's dead doves come not long after 2 million dead fish washed ashore along Maryland's Chesapeake Bay -- and just days after up to 5,000 blackbirds fell out of the sky in a one-mile area near Beebe, Ark., and thousands of drum fish turned up dead along a stretch of an Arkansas river.
Other animal die-offs in the past two weeks include reports of 40,000 dead crabs washing ashore near Kent, England, hundreds of snapper fish dead in New Zealand, 150 tons of red tilapia dead in Vietnam, 500 jackdaws crashing to their death in Sweden, more than 450 birds falling onto a Louisiana highway and a mass of dead fish in a Florida creek.
Fireworks, pollution, disease and parasites are some of the official theories behind the strange deaths.
Federal records indicate mass die-offs happen "on average every other day" in North America, The Associated Press reported.
"They generally fly under the radar," ornithologist John Wiens, chief scientist at the California research institution PRBO Conservation Science, told the AP.
Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the Nairobi-based U.N. Environment Program, also played down apocalyptic causes but was at a loss to provide a solid explanation.
"Science is struggling to explain these things," Nuttall said. These are examples of the surprises that nature can still bring. More research is needed."
Not everyone believes the official explanations or that mass animal die-offs are commonplace.
"There are a lot of people here not convinced by the official reasons for the dead birds," Max Brantley, the editor in chief of the Arkansas Times weekly, told AOL News today.
"I'm 60 years old and I've never experienced a mass bird death here."
Unofficial explanations invoke biblical end times and rapture theories, predictions by Nostradamus and the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. Their proponents, however, have critics as well.
"It's truly amazing to me how many people try to blame this on so many different things, especially the whole religion angle," Benjamin Penman wrote in the Huffington Post. "Please someone post me a single quote in the Bible that says anything about birds dying in the middle of nowhere Arkansas."
An Alaska-based U.S. military project called High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, which is a favorite of conspiracy theorists, is frequently mentioned online for being the reason for the bird deaths in the U.S.
One blog, Before It's News, listed 10 leading theories for the bird and fish die-offs that it implied are mostly ignored by the mainstream media.
It listed possible causes ranging from the fairly mundane -- meteor showers, sonic booms, volatile fault lines, shifting magnetic poles -- to the shadowy.
The darker theories include possible secret government testing, something called "scalar weapons" which are described as "directed energy beam weapons that can create natural disasters," and Project Blue Beam, said to be a "sound generator for the global theater of alien invasion."
If you've never heard of HAARP, check it out for yourself...