The crows of Bakersfield started dying in May 2007.
Most Californians knew the town of Bakersfield as a hot little hellhole between San Francisco and Los Angeles—a pit stop for gas and cheap Indian food. It’s a town that seemed destined to be ignored.
But when the crows of Bakersfield started dying, people started talking. First came the reports of children finding dead ravens floating in backyard swimming pools. Then other species of birds started falling out of trees. One local news crew filmed a swarm of swallows collapsing like little comets from the sky.1
The dying birds were frightening enough, but panic erupted when humans began developing strange symptoms. Some people had tremors. Others experienced a condition ...