While it’s not unusual for people to become a bit drunk after having too much to drink, it’s not every day that we see wild animals partaking in the same behavior. That said, birds local to certain parts of Minnesota are receiving lots of attention as of late.
Citing a public statement issued by Minnesota’s Gilbert Police Department, the agency received several calls encompassing stories of what appear to be drunk birds behaving out of character. While it might seem silly or unrealistic at first glance, there’s an entirely sensible explanation to elucidate why this is happening.
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“The Gilbert Police Department has received several reports of birds that appear to be ‘under the influence’ flying into windows, cars, and acting confused,” the agency said. The reason behind this occurrence is certain berries we have in our area have fermented earlier than usual due to an early frost, which in turn has expedited the fermenting process.”
As it would seem, the state of Minnesota is experiencing an early frost this year, which has resulted in the broader abundance of fermented berries. Berries are a natural food source for all sorts of birds, but they can’t discern whether a berry is fermented or not before eating it.
Birds across Minnesota are ingesting these fermented berries and receiving a buzz much like people would after drinking wine or another form of alcohol. Consequently, they’ve been acting erratically by flying into buildings or vehicles and acting confused, among other things.
Birds typically migrate South during the colder months, which is why Minnesota residents aren’t accustomed to witnessing this type of behavior. But this year’s bout of frost came early, so birds haven’t started migrating yet. Usually, the birds wouldn’t be around to eat the abundance of fermented berries, but in this case, they are.
The birds’ livers aren’t particularly robust, so even a small number of berries results in this somewhat humorous, but potentially dangerous behavior.
The Gilbert Police Department goes on to explain that residents shouldn’t be alarmed by this behavior and that the side-effects wear off on their own after some time just as an intoxicated person would become sober. That said, they urge the public not to clog emergency lines by reporting oddly-behaving birds.
Residents can help inebriated birds by keeping them sheltered for a short period until their confusion appears to wear off; but in most cases, it’s best to let nature take its course.