A recent viral sensation was the video alleged to be an eagle attempting to snatch a baby at a park in Canada. The video was later exposed as a hoax by a team of computer graphics experts, but it initially fooled a considerable number of people. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but I will say I knew when I saw the video that it was fake, simply due to my interest in cryptozoology — the study of unknown or unconfirmed creatures. Bigfoot, Nessie, the Yeti, etc…
One of the cryptozoological legends I’ve been interested in for some time is the Thunderbird. The Thunderbird is alleged to be a giant bird with a wingspan of 15 to 18 feet. Flying creatures of that size have not existed on Earth since the time of pterosaurs. Today, the largest known birds on Earth are the Andean and California Condors, with wingspans of 9 to 10 feet. The Thunderbird is more than just a cryptozoological phenomenon however… it is a Native American mythological creature believed to be a servant of the Great Spirit, a shapeshifter, and the controller of rainfall.
There are a few contemporary accounts of Thunderbirds flying off with victims — small animals, even children. One account from 1868 in Tippah County, Missouri involves a Thunderbird which allegedly flew off with an 8 year old child. Another from 1977 involves an account of a Thunderbird attack in Lawndale, Illinois. Accounts of “eagles” flying off with lambs and pigs were common in the 1800′s.
There are problems, however, with these accounts. The physics don’t work. A bald eagle weighs about fifteen pounds and can carry about ten pounds for short distances. That means a condor, the largest bird on the planet could carry an animal of maybe 20 pounds for a short distance. An eight year old child, at about 80 pounds, is far too large for any bird on Earth to pick up. Even the toddler in the video which spawned this blog would be too heavy for the eagle to get off the ground. That’s not to say birds of prey can’t cause serious injury to children and small animals — they can and do. They just can’t generally fly off with them unless the animal is small enough to be carried.
There may be some truth in the Native American legends about Thunderbirds. Scientists have speculated that Pterosaurs may have coexisted with early humans for a short time. Stories could possibly have been passed down through the ages in the rich Native American oral tradition. That does inspire the imagination — actual humans may have run from giant flying monsters at one time in our past. It just didn’t happen last year in a park in Canada.
Cherry Citrus Fizz
This is an easy drink recipe we’ve been enjoying at my house recently.
In a Collins glass, combine the following over ice:
1 1/2 parts Cherry Vodka
1/2 part Triple Sec liqueur
2 parts 7up
Splash cherry syrup. Stir and serve.