Birds are flying under the influence in Iron Range town

October 4, 2018

The birds in Gilbert, Minn., are berry, berry drunk. Literally.

With the town buzzing about erratic avian behavior, the police chief in the Iron Range city of 1,800 residents took to Facebook this week to let the public know what was going on.

Turns out, it seems that the birds have been getting tipsy on fermented berries.

The Gilbert Police Department has received several reports of birds that appear to be under the influence flying into windows, cars and acting confused, Chief Ty Techer wrote Tuesday. The reason behind this occurrence is certain berries we have in our area have fermented earlier than usual due to an early frost.

Techers post drew dozens of comments from area residents who had been wondering just what was going on.

This explains why I have hit 7 birds with my car this week, said Rebecca Rankila Warwas.

I was going to say something ... but I thought I was crazy!!! wrote Betsy Walli. This has been happening to me!

Tipsy birds arent unheard of, said Jim Williams, who writes the Wingnut bird blog for the Star Tribune. But since most birds dont eat much fruit, the avain alcohol problem is limited to a few species, such as cedar waxwings and robins.

Every once in a while you get a [fruit] tree that ferments, Williams said. Its like drinking wine, I guess.

Birds usually fly above automobile traffic and are alert enough to avoid cars when they encounter them. But add a dose of fermented berries, and the birds lose their edge.

Theyre flying low, theyre not flying very well, Williams said. Its drunken driving, except theyre flying straight into peoples windshields.

Theyre behaving like drunk people.

John Reinan 612-673-7402

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