In a story that probably sucks for the poor little birds but is kind of hilarious for the rest of us, the birds of Gilbert, Minnesota have been flying around drunk and crashing into things. It’s been a nuisance for the locals, but the cops can't issue Flying While Intoxicated citations?
According to CNN.com, the birds aren’t sneaking six-packs after a busy day of building nests, nor are sweet little old ladies spiking their birdbaths. Instead, the birds are eating berries that have been fermenting earlier due to an early frost.
Is this true? Are the birds really drunk?
Yes, said Anna Pidgeon, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin's Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, who notes it's not a rare phenomenon.
"It's more typical in late winter, early spring when berries that have been on branches ferment due to the yeast that's on them," she said.
Robins and cedar waxwings rely primarily on fruit and are more susceptible to "getting drunk," said Pidgeon. (Yes, that's really her name.)
Getting intoxicated can be quite dangerous for them, she said.
A yellow-rumped warbler.
"(They) lose their coordination, they lose their natural ability to escape predators -- including poor judgment when it comes to flying."
The birds can also get alcohol poisoning.
Pidgeon recommends that anyone who finds a woozy bird should put it a dark, safe place -- such as a shed or a cardboard box -- until it recuperates and can fly without crashing into things. Drawing blinds can also help protect confused birds that may try to fly into windows, she said.
During mass migrations, young, naïve birds often collide with windows, getting concussions or breaking their necks. That, Pidgeon said, is the bigger problem.
"Relative to other sources of fatality of birds, alcohol poisoning isn't a huge risk," she said. "It's very short term."
So keep an eye on the sky if you’re around Gilbert this month. You might see a few soaring drunkards overhead.
For more details, check out the video below.