If there’s one thing you want to avoid in life, it’s getting a dying pigeon in the face. So you might want to avoid Moscow. The city’s pigeons are dying en masse, but first they start flying around like the brainless living dead. And since they don’t much care where they’re going, they’re flying straight into people’s faces. And then — thwack! — falling to the ground.

The Guardian reports:

Although not all pigeons are affected, some have reportedly been acting as if drugged, stumbling and reacting slowly to humans, or else flying into the faces of passersby and falling to the ground. …

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“Before death, they start to resemble zombies: they lose their orientation and fly without a sense of direction, then fall, already lacking the strength to get up,” wrote Konstantin Ranks, a science columnist at the website Slon.ru.

The birds, veterinarians say, are suffering from contagious Newcastle disease and, in some cases, salmonella. Russians, or at least some of them, are not interested in this explanation and instead think that this is the end of the world. Seriously. Rasputin predicted the apocalypse would come on Aug. 23, 2013, the Guardian says. So, if you can make it for the next three days without getting a pigeon in your face … well, you won’t be fine, but you won’t have to worry about it anymore, either.

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