Due to an early frost, berries in the town of Gilbert, Minnesota, have fermented earlier than usual. That’s bad news for young birds, which have been crashing into windshields and falling out of trees as they’ve basically gotten drunk off the berries. The Gilbert police department says it’s received numerous calls related to erratic bird behavior.
As The Washington Post explains, “Certain bird species, such as robins, cedar waxwings and thrushes, are the most prone to drunken antics since they eat more berries than other species such as warblers and flycatchers that primarily eat insects.” While the prospect of drunk birds sounds amusing, it can actually be quite harmful for young birds that can’t handle their fermented berry liquor. Residents report finding numerous dead birds on their patios or having birds fly right into their windshields. The situation is made even worse by migratory timing, as birds are eating more berries right now to prepare for their flight south for the winter.
This situation doesn’t just happen in Gilbert, as the Post talked to an Audubon Society in Portland, Oregon, that takes drunk birds and puts them in cages until they sober up, as a kind of drunk tank. Bob Sallinger, the conservation director for the Audubon Society, tells the Post, “Sometimes they are picked up after crashing into windows. Others are just found disoriented on the ground. We will hold them in captivity until they sober up and then set them free.”