The behavior might echo Alfred Hitchock’s “The Birds,” but there’s a key difference: “They literally get drunk,” Chelsea Trucano, a patrol officer with the Gilbert Police Department, told ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast.
After a series of bird crashes, including one bird that broke through the window of someone’s house, local experts explained to police that an early frost was causing the berries in the area to ferment in the heat during the day.
Warm fall temperatures have also thrown off migration patterns, according to Trucano: “There’s more birds in the area thus we’re seeing it more frequently that the birds are getting intoxicated by these berries.”
“They’ll be flying around and then kind of bump into the window, get stunned, go onto the ground and they kind of have that dazed look,” she told “Start Here.”
There are no field sobriety tests for birds — “We are going to have to develop that,” Trucano said — but she recommended building a “detox box” for the immobilized, intoxicated birds.
“You take a cardboard box, cut holes in it, and then put the bird in there for a little while,” she said. “Within a couple of hours, it will take a little nap and sober up and be good to go.”
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The Gilbert Police Department published a statement on Facebook on Tuesday after receiving multiple reports of tipsy avifauna floating around listlessly and crashing into traffic.
“The Gilbert Police Department has received several reports of birds that appear to be under the influence flying into windows, cars and acting confused,” Police Chief Ty Techar wrote in the statement.
Techar explained that the cause of this occurrence was down to the premature fermentation of certain berries, which, in turn, was down to the early frost this year.
Techar said there was no need to call law enforcement about the birds and that they should “sober up” soon.
“Oh my! That explains all the birds bouncing off my window lately! Luckily only one has passed on,” one person commented.
“There goes the chance of any bird from Northern MN ever being on the Supreme Court,” another jibed.
Techars statement ended by joking that residents of the Minnesota town could call them if they saw “The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic on Main Street,” and “any other birds after midnight with Taco Bell items.”
The Washington Post reports that the incident in Gilbert is not an isolated one. The Post refers to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Ornithology, which found that “flying under the influence of ethanol had led to… birds deaths.”
“We typically see them flying lower than usual through traffic. Theyre just careless and theyre not looking for cars or other obstacles.”