Thousands of dead turtle doves, many of which had a "strange" blue stain inside their beaks, have crashed from the sky in Italy. They're the latest in a puzzling spate of birds, fish and other animals dying under mysterious circumstances around the world.
Residents of Faenza, Italy, described the fallen doves as lying in heaps on flowerbeds, crushed by machinery on the streets or "horribly hung from trees like Christmas balls," Italy's GeaPress reported today.
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.