Less than two weeks into 2011, the animal world was experiencing a phenomenon that was, how should we put this....totally freaky: Blackbirds fell from the sky by the thousands, dead fish washed up on beaches by the millions, and hundreds of turtle doves were found dead in Italy.
But this was just the beginning: The rest of 2011 would be full of other weird and wild animal stories, from orange alligators and cloned wooly mammoths to frogs and snakes working together and dolphins rescuing a dog -- plus the loss of one of the world's most famous eco-icons.
Shocking Mass Animal Deaths Around the World
These mass animal deaths
piggybacked on others from 2010 -- manatees, crabs, fish, and penguins were just a few of the other populations dealing with this weirdness -- and explanations range from human activity and climate change to starvation and undetermined physical trauma.