I suspect that massive bird die-offs like this article (below) describes were common before humanity arrived on the scene, but I cannot imagine that noise or pesticides or other manmade causes were the blame.
When we start to say that it’s “common” for major catastrophes to occur, we should be careful not to become used to or indifferent to major changes in Wildlife.
It’s common for natural shifts in our environment to result in major wildlife die-offs. However, human-caused die-offs should not be understood in the same sense that a naturally occurring event is meant.
If mankind is the cause of major die-off, we need to change our collective behavior.
Despite 2010 being the year the United Nations hoped to focus the world’s attention on the loss of biodiversity (2010 International Year of Biodiversity) little was done and not even mentioned in our local media. You would think that major wildlife die-offs would attract public attention and the media, like thousands of birds dropping out of the sky, but it doesn’t. Humanity can be like a great big buzz saw ripping through our environment with development and pollution and little thought is given to its affect on wildlife, plants, and our future. To equate human-caused die-off with natural die-offs is a dangerous delusion about our role in our environment.
USGS Release: Wildlife Die-Offs are Relatively Common, Recent Bird Deaths Caused by Impact Trauma (1/10/2011 4:51:01 PM) "Large wildlife die-off events are fairly common, though they should never be ignored, according to the U.S. Geological Survey scientists whose preliminary tests showed that the bird deaths in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve and those in Louisiana were caused by impact trauma. Preliminary findings from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center's Arkansas bird analyses suggest that the birds died from impact trauma, and these findings are consistent with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's statement. The State concluded that such trauma was probably a result of the birds being startled by loud noises on the night of Dec. 31, arousing them and causing them to fly into objects such as houses or trees. Scientists at the USGS NWHC performed necropsies—the animal version of an autopsy—on the birds and found internal hemorrhaging, while the pesticide tests they conducted were negative. Results from further laboratory tests are expected to be completed in 2-3 weeks. " Welcome to the USGS - U.S. Geological Survey