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Case in point: The police department there has received several reports of birds that “appear to be ‘under the influence‘ flying into windows, cars, and acting confused.”
The culprit? An early frost. Or, more specifically, berries that froze, causing the starch they contain to convert to sugar, which in turn fermented when the berries thawed.
A bird expert tells the Duluth News Tribune:
“Birds actually do get literally intoxicated when they eat berries that have started fermenting, and that does lead to drunken behavior.”
Apparently, such behavior is relatively common, at least according to NPR, which came up with several examples of “boozey” birds.
In one case, the city of Whitehorse in the Yukon had to set up drunk tanks (modified hamster cages) for the “party fowl.” As for Gilbert’s winged drunkards, “There’s no need to call law enforcement about these birds as they should sober up within a short period of time,” per the police statement, which adds that there are some bird-related occurrences that should be called in.
Among these are: “The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic on Main Street;” “Big Bird operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner;” and ” Tweety acting as if 10 feet tall and getting into confrontations with cats.”