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Juvenile Blackbirds Drunk on Fermented Berries
The Atlantic ^ | NOV 19 2012

Posted on 12/02/2012 2:09:01 PM PST by nickcarraway

Birds might not be better than us after all. They have fancy hollow bones and the gift of graceful flight, but in the sense that we are all just floating around looking for fermented berries, there is existential parity.

The Veterinary Record of the British Medical Journal tells of a young bird in Cumbria, found outside of a primary school, that was visibly impaired, hobbling around. Staff at a wildlife rescue center described it as "unsteady on its feet ... [It] placed both wings on the ground to support itself and lent against the walls of the enclosure to maintain posture 'as though it was drunk.'"

Around it, twelve other blackbirds -- precisely half of four and twenty -- were found dead.

Avian pathologists disassembled the birds to see what went wrong. Inside they found rowan berries that had "a faint odor of fermentation" -- enough to smell it while dissecting dead birds, at least. A biopsy of one of their livers had an alcohol level of 430 parts per million. Levels of 238 have been implicated in fatal ethanol intoxication in the past, in two poor wild cedar waxwings.

The surviving bird made a full recovery; back to normal by the next day.

But how many more birds are out there, with lower-but-not-incidental blood alcohol levels? Flying among us. Is it possible that they intentionally seek out fermented berries? Just one more -- I'm fine. Just one more. I'm totally okay to fly, just give me five minutes to waddle around first.

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Food; Pets/Animals; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: napl

1 posted on 12/02/2012 2:09:08 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Hardly a dent in the population. Unfortunately.


2 posted on 12/02/2012 2:11:01 PM PST by Past Your Eyes (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.)
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To: nickcarraway

It’s not uncommon. I remember grouse getting drunk on wild grapes.


3 posted on 12/02/2012 2:19:24 PM PST by freedomfiter2 (Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.)
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To: nickcarraway

I see a new iPhone app in the offing:

“Angry Drunk Birds”


4 posted on 12/02/2012 2:20:28 PM PST by Salamander (If animals could speak, mankind would weep.)
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To: Salamander

My name is Polly W. and I am an alcoholic boid.


5 posted on 12/02/2012 2:22:43 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

I have heard of birds eating fermented poke berries for years.


6 posted on 12/02/2012 2:26:35 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Why is the government more concerned about protecting a microbe on Mars than an unborn baby here?)
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To: freedomfiter2

I remember drunk birds in Florida. They ate red berries and it didn’t take long before they were drunk.
Way back when my uncle had a farm, his neighbor made beer and whiskey. Sometimes cattle and horses would eat the mash – it wasn’t pretty.


7 posted on 12/02/2012 2:30:34 PM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: nickcarraway

LOL


8 posted on 12/02/2012 2:31:41 PM PST by Salamander (If animals could speak, mankind would weep.)
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To: nickcarraway

My Irish Wolfhounds like to go out in the orchard and eat the apples and pears. They are tall enough to pick them off the branches.

I try to clean up the fermented fruit that has fallen on the ground daily. Sometimes after a windy night, there are quite a apples and pears on the ground. My husband lets the dogs out in the morning before I’ve picked up the fruit and my hounds have gotten loopy...stumbling around, droopy eyelids, you know.

This is not a laughing matter. Too much fermented fruit can cause dogs to suffer organ failure and kill them...ethanol poisoning.


9 posted on 12/02/2012 2:37:02 PM PST by bimboeruption (Clinging to my Bible and my HK.)
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To: nickcarraway

That’s funny, nick.


10 posted on 12/02/2012 2:38:30 PM PST by bimboeruption (Clinging to my Bible and my HK.)
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To: nickcarraway

7 Species That Get High More Than We Do

Title of a Cracked article a while back

A bad tempered drunk elephant...watch out


11 posted on 12/02/2012 2:38:55 PM PST by Harold Shea (RVN `70 - `71)
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To: nickcarraway

Blackbird puking in the dead of night....


12 posted on 12/02/2012 2:44:18 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: bimboeruption

As you probably know, dogs have very little tolerance for alcohol. We spent about $500 after our “free” puppy ate raw bread dough. The live yeast produced enough alcohol to nearly kill her.


13 posted on 12/02/2012 2:48:52 PM PST by muir_redwoods (Don't fire until you see the blue of their helmets)
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To: nickcarraway

This sort of thing happens throughout nature. Animals love alcohol when they happen upon it.


14 posted on 12/02/2012 2:55:41 PM PST by dagogo redux (A whiff of primitive spirits in the air, harbingers of an impending descent into the feral.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
I have heard of birds eating fermented poke berries for years.

I've also heard of bears eating fermented berries. A drunk bear; just what we need!

15 posted on 12/02/2012 2:59:51 PM PST by Flick Lives (We're going to be just like the old Soviet Union, but with free cell phones!)
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To: All

They fly among us.


16 posted on 12/02/2012 3:21:06 PM PST by BipolarBob (Riding my stick horse yelling "Woop woop whopm Gangnam Style" & grinning like an idiot.)
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To: nickcarraway

That’s been me since November 6th.....I’ll sober up in another 4 years...

Go Blackbirds! It’s 5:00 somewhere...


17 posted on 12/02/2012 3:23:24 PM PST by nevergore ("It could be that the purpose of my life is simply to serve as a warning to others.")
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To: dagogo redux

There are YouTube videos of African animals getting falling—down drunk after eating ripe fruit from the marula tree (it ferments inside them).


18 posted on 12/02/2012 3:29:48 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: muir_redwoods

I’ve read about that...yeast can ferment sugars, creating ethanol poisoning in the animal.

Does your pooch have health insurance? Mine do through VPI.
It truly helps.


19 posted on 12/02/2012 3:47:14 PM PST by bimboeruption (Clinging to my Bible and my HK.)
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To: Flick Lives
I've also heard of bears eating fermented berries. A drunk bear; just what we need!

Almost willing to bet that bears are mean drunks too.

20 posted on 12/02/2012 3:52:54 PM PST by The Cajun (Sarah Palin, Mark Levin......Nuff said.)
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To: nickcarraway

Ever see a drunk elephant?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmQPwgV-WbQ


21 posted on 12/02/2012 4:10:47 PM PST by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll eventually get what you deserve)
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To: freedomfiter2

I’m wondering if they taste different while all of that alcohol is in their system... kinda prefer mine marinated in red vs white, but I imagine a good raspberry or blackberry frementation would give the meat a nice flavor....:)


22 posted on 12/02/2012 4:15:41 PM PST by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: nickcarraway

Had a keg party back in HS when the parents were away. Put the dogs dish down next to the keg. Airedale, drank like a champ. Later on, we all started running around the back 40. I swerved to avoid a tree, Airedale crashed straight into it. That dog would never drink again. We tried, but he had taken the pledge. True story.


23 posted on 12/02/2012 4:42:58 PM PST by RKM
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To: reed13k

They sure do taste better because I can’t hit them if they aren’t drunk.


24 posted on 12/02/2012 4:43:58 PM PST by freedomfiter2 (Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.)
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To: Salamander

Hey squirl...you friggin lookin at me (hiccup)....you wanna piece of me you friggin rat (hiccup)!!!


25 posted on 12/02/2012 5:27:14 PM PST by Kolath
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To: Slings and Arrows

Redneck birds ping!


26 posted on 12/02/2012 5:41:50 PM PST by Clay Moore (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of a fool to the left. Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: Clay Moore; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; martin_fierro; ...


27 posted on 12/02/2012 7:15:44 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Clay Moore; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; martin_fierro; ...


28 posted on 12/02/2012 7:16:44 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: dfwgator

LOLOL


29 posted on 12/02/2012 7:46:29 PM PST by Salamander (If animals could speak, mankind would weep.)
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To: Kolath

;D


30 posted on 12/02/2012 7:48:24 PM PST by Salamander (If animals could speak, mankind would weep.)
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To: nickcarraway
Birds might not be better than us after all.

Of course they aren't. They haven't figured out distillation or oak barrel aging.
31 posted on 12/02/2012 7:52:38 PM PST by posterchild (Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.)
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To: windcliff
Photobucket

Juvenile blackbird ping.
32 posted on 12/02/2012 7:57:10 PM PST by stylecouncilor (Bazinga!)
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To: stylecouncilor

That’s nothing to crow about.


33 posted on 12/02/2012 8:23:56 PM PST by nickcarraway
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