Mass bird-death incidents have plagued regions as diverse as Arkansas, Louisiana, Italy, and Sweden in the last five months. Scientists have yet to fully explain why thousands of dead blackbirds, starlings, and turtle doves have fallen from the sky, but now a more troubling bird-death phenomenon is occurring in Finland, and it isn’t just challenging experts for explanations—it’s causing real fear in the scientific community.
“To describe these birds as ‘angry’ would be a grave understatement,” says Hari Jokinen, senior director of the Helsinki Poultry and Livestock Commission. “These birds are intelligent and organized, and demonstrate a pathological obsession with murder-suicide. They’re committed to destroying our domestic swine population, and they’re willing to sacrifice their own lives—and the lives of their unborn chicks—in their quest for blood.”
In other regions of the world, mass bird die-offs have been attributed to everything from lightning strikes to fireworks. In the case of Finland’s birds, however, behavior eerily similar to suicide terrorism is to blame. Experts say the birds are propelling themselves into pig pens in an effort to kill the resident swine, which the birds mistakenly believe have stolen their eggs. The attacks are kamikaze missions, say experts, and dispatched birds never return to fight another day. Even worse, the birds typically require multiple offensive campaigns to eliminate all their porcine targets, and show no regard whatsoever for the vast number of suicide bombers they send to certain death.
Besides showing a brash disregard for their own lives, the birds seem uninterested in the safety and eventual return of their missing eggs. Kimi Hakola, a researcher at the University of Vaasa, points out that not a single targeted pig pen has shown any evidence of stockpiled bird eggs. Moreover, he says, the birds’ offensive strikes are designed to not just kill pigs, but also raze entire pig encampments—an action that would certainly destroy any purloined bird eggs, were they actually hidden somewhere in the pens.
“These are not extraction missions,” says Hakola. “The birds are resolute nihilists and pose an existential threat. They are interested only in killing themselves, their unborn children, and innocent pigs.”
Hinton Kent, a scholar with the World Wildlife Fund, is particularly alarmed by the birds’ interspecies command structure, which demonstrates a level of organization heretofore unseen in the animal kingdom.
“We have white birds, red birds, blue birds, yellow birds and black birds working together, bonded by a common bloodlust,” Kent says. “This level of avian cooperation is unprecedented, as is the complex choreography of dive-bombing, carpet-bombing, and even egg-bombing the birds use to achieve their perverted goals. Perhaps most concerning, the birds have just recruited a toucan. The introduction of foreign insurgents indicates an escalation, so this toucan must really give us pause.”
Experts agree the nihilist birds must be watched closely, but Irving Lahaie, an animal behaviorist at UC Davis, says they should not be our primary concern.
“The birds are dangerous, yes, but they simply don’t have the firepower to cause much harm beyond the local Finnish ecosystem,” Lahaie says. “But have you seen the pigs' encampments? Their makeshift protective structures show an alarming degree of engineering sophistication. These pigs are smart. And they wear funny hats. I’m much more worried about the pigs.”