Here is another story about youth not handling their alcohol well. It’s not the Kavanaugh story…it’s from police in Gilbert, MN who are warning residents about the local bird population. Apparently there are flocks of birds drifting around town looking disoriented and narrowly avoiding getting hit by cars.
“The Gilbert Police Department has received several reports of birds that appear to be ‘under the influence’ flying into windows, cars and acting confused,” Police Chief Ty Techar wrote in a statement Tuesday. It seems an early frost meant that berries had fermented earlier than usual, he explained, and birds were eating them and getting drunk.
Incidents involving intoxicated birds appear to be more prevalent than in past years around town, Techar added, because many have not yet migrated south. “It appears that some birds are getting a little more ‘tipsy’ than normal,” he wrote. “Generally, younger birds’ livers cannot handle the toxins as efficiently as more mature birds.”
He concluded: “There is no need to call law enforcement about these birds as they should sober up within a short period of time.”
As you can imagine, a number of Gilbert residents commented on the Facebook post and thanked the police department for explaining why the birds had been acting so strangely. One woman wrote that she had found three dead birds on her deck recently, while another described quickly slamming on her brakes when a bird flew directly into her windshield. “This explains why I have hit 7 birds with my car this week,” commented another.
“I was going to say something . . . but I thought I was crazy!!!” wrote one resident. “This has been happening to me!” She added, “I know this post is a joke . . . but seriously . . . 2 birds dove into my windshield both on the way to work and on the way home . . . I was wondering what was going on.”
Another commenter joked, “There goes the chance of any bird from Northern MN ever being on the Supreme Court.
Jokes aside, birds really can get intoxicated by eating fermented berries. A group of California scientists, who performed necropsies on several flocks of cedar waxwings that had collided with hard surfaces, found that all of them had recently gorged on overripe berries. “Flying under the influence of ethanol” had led to the birds’ deaths, they concluded in a 2012 study published in the Journal of Ornithology.