Thousands of Dead Birds Fall from Arkansas Sky

Dead birds
A dead bird lies on Skylark Street in Beebe, Ark. on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday more than 1,000 dead black birds fell from the sky in Beebe. The agency said its enforcement officers began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. Friday. (AP Photo/The Daily Citizen, Warren Watkins)

Arkansas wildlife officials are speculating that celebratory fireworks startled thousands of birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress as they fell from the sky over a one-mile area in Beebe just after New Year’s.

The story is a tragic reminder that well-intended actions often have unintended consequences.

In Utah, a team of researchers at Brigham Young University recently published a report on unintended consequences of parenting styles on teen alcohol abuse.

Professor Stephen Bahr surveyed 5,000 youngsters about alcohol use and found a direct connection between parenting styles and binge drinking.

Teens raised by parents who tend to give lots of praise and warmth — but offer little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior — were “about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking,” Bahr found.

Researchers also found similar levels of alcohol abuse among youngsters whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager’s own judgment. “Kids in that environment tend not to internalize the values and understand why they shouldn’t drink,” said Bahr.

As 2011 gets underway, Bahr’s study and Beebe’s birds are important reminders of the potentially tragic unintended consequences of well-intended actions.

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