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Four & Twenty Black Birds

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The army has announced plans to kill 14 million blackbirds this winter by spraying them with a chemical that will cause the birds to freeze to death. The massive bird-killing project, the army reports, will be staged at two army installations- at rort Campbell, Kentucky, and at the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee. Defense Department officials complain that the estimated 14 million birds around the two bases are aviation "hazards." The army s plan is to employ helicopters and airplanes to drop detergentlike chemicals mixed with water on the unsuspecting birds. The chemical takes the protective oil away from the birds' feathers, and when the temperature drops.below 45 degrees, the birds become chilled and cold, and eventuajly freeze to death.