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A super-sized bird in Alaska
Scripps ^ | 10/15/2002 | Pter Forco

Posted on 10/15/2002 7:19:33 PM PDT by SteveH

A super-sized bird in Alaska By PETER PORCO Anchorage Daily News October 15, 2002

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A giant winged creature, like something out of Jurassic Park, has reportedly been sighted several times in Southwest Alaska in recent weeks.

Villagers in Togiak and Manokotak say they have seen a huge bird that's much bigger than anything they have seen before.

A pilot says he spotted the creature while flying passengers to Manokotak last week. He calculated that its wingspan matched the length of a wing on his Cessna 207. That's about 14 feet.

Other people have put the wingspan in a similar range.

Scientists aren't sure what to make of the reports. No one doubts that people in the region west of Dillingham have seen a very large rapto-like bird. But biologists and other people familiar with big Alaska birds say they're skeptical it's that big.

A recent sighting of the mystery bird occurred Oct. 10 when Moses Coupchiak, a 43-year-old heavy equipment operator from Togiak, 40 miles west of Manokotak, saw the bird flying toward him from about two miles away as he worked his tractor.

"At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes," Coupchiak said. "Instead of continuing toward me, it banked to the left, and that's when I noticed it wasn't a plane."

The bird was "something huge," he said. "The wing looks a little wider than the Otter's, maybe as long as the Otter plane."

The bird flew behind a hill and disappeared. Coupchiak got on the radio and warned people in Togiak to tell their children to stay away.

Pilot John Bouker said he was highly skeptical of reports of "this great big eagle" that is two or three times the size of a bald eagle. "I didn't put any thought into it."

But early this week while flying into Manokotak, Bouker, owner of Bristol Bay Air Service, looked out his left window and 1,000 feet away, "there's this big ... . bird," he said.

"The people in the plane all saw him," Bouker said. "He's huge, he's huge, he's really, really big. You wouldn't want to have your children out."

Nicolai Alakayak, a freight and passenger driver from Manokotak who was flying with Bouker, said the creature looked like an eagle and was as large as "a little Super Cub."

Comparison to an eagle, certainly. Super Cub? Probably not, scientists said.

"I'm certainly not aware of anything with a 14-foot wingspan that's been alive for the last 100,000 years," said federal raptor specialist Phil Schemf in Juneau.

Schemf, other biologists, a village police officer and teachers at the Manokotak School said the sightings could be of a Steller's sea eagle, a species native to northeast Asia and one of the world's largest eagles. It's about 50 percent bigger than a bald eagle.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

Copyright © 1999 Scripps Howard News Service

TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: alaska; bird; cryptozoology
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To: agrandis
I didnt know that there were any Panthers anywhere in the United States.
61 posted on 10/15/2002 8:25:12 PM PDT by Husker24
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To: Husker24
Sure there are. They habitat in Oakland CA.
62 posted on 10/15/2002 8:28:38 PM PDT by Freeper john
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To: Cvengr
We have the same problem when we go bottom fishing.

Of course, it makes sense that anglers come to Dutch Harbor in search of record halibut. After all, the world's largest sport-caught halibut -- a 459-pound monster caught by Jack Tragis of Fairbanks in 1996 -- was taken from the area's icy waters.

63 posted on 10/15/2002 8:29:19 PM PDT by alaskanfan
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To: sit-rep
I'm probably a thousand miles east of dillingham, only 350 miles from whitehorse, Yukon. Anyway, I never see any of the good stuff; just moose, bear and last few weeks have had a pack of wolves come in trying to draw my dogs out for supper. Kinda cool having wolves and your dogs howlin back and forth. these buggers come within 100 yards of the cabin, but soon as I head out on porch with ar; they shut right up and disappear. Its snowing good right now. If we get a few feet, I want to run some of those eatin machines down. Natiive neighbor showed me all the teeth marks on his snowmachine. They turn on ya just when you are about to dust them so he tells me. Soft body don't hurt ski-doos none. Actually, been trying to tape them howling for ya; but they wind me and quiet right up.

Whitefish are spawning and everyones in hip boots with coleman spearing sack fulls. One local got 50 some other night. All I get is the flu.

Back to big birds. I don't laugh at all that junk we don't understand. The natives talk about stick people. Some lost race that lives in the mnts and used to steal kids. They talk to bears and don't want owls callin out their name. They do alot of things we laugh about but awful serious to them. Big connection with nature. Lynx is a delicacy. like chicken. So much I try and keep an open mind about; but still I never see the green men, bigfoots, or ghosts.

But here's one for ya. These people where I'm at big into steam baths (sweat lodges). I have mine about finished and plan on the ritual this sat. Anyway, it must be 250 degrees in there and all they say is more steam or heat. After 10 minutes, head out and roll in the snow , then back in for another heat. 4-5 of these and you feel super relaxed and clean. But here is the real catch. They pray in them. Prayer is intense at 200 degrees.

Anyway, if I see anything big flyin around I will be sure to bring her down; as they shoot and eat about everything they see around these parts.

64 posted on 10/15/2002 8:32:35 PM PDT by Eska
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To: mfreddy
They (the feds and NM state game biologists) claim there are no native Mexican gray wolves in the U.S. either but there are...southern NM and probably AZ too. Also Jaguars close to a hundred miles north of the Mexican border in NM.

On a lighter note...still a few naked hippies around in the forest also.
65 posted on 10/15/2002 8:33:59 PM PDT by armourup
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To: RightOnline
I have heard of this also.Seems the theory is the birds were so large they couldn't fly like normal birds. They used the approaching weather front to help them glide or soar from one place to another.I guess that is how they got their name,always preceding a storm.Check HERE
66 posted on 10/15/2002 8:43:36 PM PDT by invenire
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To: AM2000
This one time, at Band camp, after we had drank too much, I saw a Wooly Mammoth...
67 posted on 10/15/2002 8:46:52 PM PDT by mtg
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To: armourup
The Feds say there is not an immigration problem......
68 posted on 10/15/2002 8:48:17 PM PDT by mfreddy
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To: RightOnline; Thinkin' Gal; babylonian; medved; Jeremiah Jr
>Here in NC, where I live (only this was out in the mountains in the western part of the state), there is a mountain that the Indians feared. Many of their children disappeared, never to be seen again, and it is said they were taken by these giant birds (not based on their conjecture; based on eyewitness accounts). There was even an interview with a perfectly normal family..........who damned near lost one of their sons when one of these "super birds" grabbed him and carried him halfway across their very sizeable yard..............the bird eventually dropped him (he was about nine years old and just a bit too large).

Days of Noah time.  Perhaps it could be something like one of the first two below:

1.  California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) ~ The California Condor had a wingspan of 9-10 feet

California condors or their ancestor species have inhabited North America since at least the Pliestocene era, from which fossils have been found ranging from the Los Angeles La Brea tar pits to Florida. An ancestor of the California condor, Teratornis incredibilis had a wingspan of 17 feet and may have been the largest bird ever to fly. The modern G. californianus , though reduced from this prehistoric size, is still the largest North American landbird with a documented wingspan of up to 9.8 feet and reported spans of 11 and 13 feet.  Some Western Native American tribes traditionally recognised California condors as sacred birds; feathers and other tokens were used for ceremonies and religious purposes. Although the Condors were occasionally sacrificed for funeral rituals, the original population size of G. californianus remained relatively unaffected by humans until the European colonization.
2.  See medved's post here -> 16 about the argentinian teratorn (Argentavis magnificens) which was a 200-lb eagle which had a 25 foot wingspan.

3.  Weird Fossilized Flying Reptile 'A Vision of Hell' ~ (a large fossilized bird, but not an eagle)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have found the remains of one of the weirdest creatures ever discovered -- a big flying reptile that lived during the time of the dinosaurs that snapped up fish with a scissors-like beak as it skimmed over the water and had a head crowned by a huge, bony crest.

Brazilian ( news - web sites) scientists Alexander Kellner and Diogenes de Almeida Campos on Thursday described a previously unknown type of pterosaur (pronounced TER-oh-sawr), winged reptiles that were cousins of the dinosaurs.

The find is important both for the oddity of its cranial crest and for the insight that the animal offers into how pterosaurs hunted for food, the researchers said. They named it Thalassodromeus sethi (pronounced thal-ahs-oh-DROH-mee-us SETH-ee), meaning "sea runner" and "Seth," for the ancient Egyptian god of evil and chaos.  ...

69 posted on 10/15/2002 9:05:01 PM PDT by 2sheep
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To: CatoRenasci
Probably an experimental RPV

Yep (though not to detract from any of the other great theories posted :-)...

70 posted on 10/15/2002 9:09:49 PM PDT by SteveH
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To: Ahban
Lots of sightings in Illinios>

Where in Illinois? Good Gracious, that's all we need...a couple of these things hauling off our kids on their paper route! ;^)

71 posted on 10/15/2002 9:11:08 PM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: Calvin Locke
I believe you may be referring to the story here near Kansas City, MO, where a mountain lion (cougar) was hit by a car mand killed. The "cat" had been feeding on the local deer population near the Missouri river. I was hunting Mushrooms in the area about 5 years ago and saw tracks of what appeared to be a big cat running down a deer. Both tracks were intermingled. The hair on the back of my neck stood up of course.
72 posted on 10/15/2002 9:15:12 PM PDT by truth defector
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To: 2sheep
I was thinking something a little more recent. These accounts are from my neck of the woods HERE -------Great Stuff for around a campfire.
73 posted on 10/15/2002 9:48:18 PM PDT by invenire
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To: truth defector
Could be. I had the radio on as background. Saw a documentary on cat attacks a while back. I think they said
the Rocky Mountain cat was the largest in North America at 165lbs IIRC.

Had an Osprey scare the heck out of me when it dropped a fish ten yards or so away, once.

74 posted on 10/15/2002 10:03:48 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: SteveH
Alternatively, here is a possible sighting in the small town of Perfection, Nevada, of a hatchling

I've also heard these things have been declared an endangered species by the U.S. Department of the Interior...

75 posted on 10/15/2002 10:48:30 PM PDT by SteveH
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To: Sangamon Kid


They appear out of the sky like the shadow of doom. They have been described as having wingspans of up to 20 feet wide, hooked talons and razor-like beaks. They are the mystery birds of Illinois.

The ancient Indians of Illinois were no strangers to these birds. Two giant petroglyphs once decorated the stone bluffs near Alton, Illinois. The paintings portrayed a huge, winged creature known as the PIASA: The Monster Bird, which is translated to mean the "bird that devours men". The French explorer Pere Marquette recorded the first accounts of the paintings in 1673. He was impressed enough by them to record them in his journals and note that the account of the Piasa involved a terrible creature that preyed on the local Indians. An Indian warrior killed the creature and a painting of it was etched onto the bluffs to recall the legend.

American Indian lore is filled with stories of
strange, monster birds with enormous wingspans and the propensity to carry away human victims. They called these creatures "Thunderbirds" because the Legend of the Giant Bird claimed that their flapping wings made a sound like rolling thunder. The birds have been described as having wingspans of 20 to 40 feet or more; hooked talons; razor-sharp beaks; and sometimes descriptions which seem oddly close to Quetzalcoatlus, one of the pterodactyls of prehistoric times.

But not all of these stories and accounts date back to the times of the early Americans. Most of them come from times that are not so long ago.... and are disturbingly close to home.

One modern day "flap" of Thunderbird sightings began in April 1948, according to Loren Coleman in his book, CURIOUS ENCOUNTERS. On April 4, a former Army Colonel named Walter F. Siegmund revealed that he had seen a gigantic bird in the sky above Alton. He had been talking with a local farmer and Colonel Ralph Jackson, the head of the Western Military Academy, at the time. "I thought there was something wrong with my eyesight," he said, "but it was definitely a bird and not a glider or a jet plane. It appeared to be flying northeast... from the movements of the object and its size, I figured it could only be a bird of tremendous size."

A few days later, a farmer named Robert Price from Caledonia would see the same, or a similar, bird. He called it a "monster bird... bigger than an airplane". On April 10, another sighting would take place and this time in Overland. A huge bird was spotted by Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Smith and Les Bacon. They said they thought the creature was an airplane until it started to flap its wings furiously.

On April 24, the bird was back in Alton. It was sighted by EM Coleman and his son, James. "It was an enormous, incredible thing with a body that looked like a naval torpedo," Coleman recalled later. "It was flying at about 500 feet and cast a shadow the same size as a Piper Cub at that height."

Then, on May 5, the bird was sighted for the last time in Alton. A man named Arthur Davidson called the police that evening to report the bird flying above the city. Later on that same night, Mrs. William Stallings of St. Louis informed the authorities that she had also seen it. "It was bright, about as big as a house," she said. A number of sightings then followed in the St. Louis are, but ironically, just when the public excitement over the bird reached its peak, the sightings came to an end.

Sightings of strange birds have not ended in Illinois and in fact continue today. One of the most exciting, and frightening, Illinois encounters occurred in 1977 in Lawndale, a small town in Logan County. On the evening of July 25, two giant birds appeared in the sky above Lawndale. The birds were reported several times as they circled and swooped in the sky. Finally, they headed straight down and reportedly attacked three boys who were playing in the backyard of Ruth and Jake Lowe. One of the birds grasped the shirt of ten-year-old Marlon Lowe, snagging its talons into the cloth. The boy tried in vain to fight the bird off then cried loudly for help.

The boy’s cries brought Marlon’s mother running
outside. She later reported that she had seen the bird actually lift the boy from the ground and into the air. She screamed loudly and the bird released the child. It had carried him, at a height of about three feet, for a distance of about forty feet. She was sure that if she had not come outside, the bird had been capable of carrying the boy away. Luckily, although scratched and badly frightened, Marlon was not seriously injured.

Four other adults appeared on the scene within
seconds of the attack. They described the birds as being black in color, with bands of white around their necks. They had long, curved beaks and a wingspan of at least 10 feet. The two birds were last seen flying toward some trees near Kickapoo Creek.

A second version of the Lawndale event is as follows:

July 25, 1977 Lawndale Illinois it was around
8:30 p.m. when Marlon Lowe a 10 year old boy was running for his life. He was playing with two friends in his family back yard when suddenly out of no where two huge black birds came out of the sky and began pursuing one of Marlons friends Travis Goodwin happily, Travis managed to escape by jumping into the swimming pool. Then the two switched there attention to Marlon. Marlon ran away as fast as he could but it was not fast enough. As he w as running he felt the talons of one of the birds grip the shoulder straps of his sleeveless shirt. Next the boy weighing 65 lb. was lifted of the ground 10 ft. Screaming and shouting at the top of his lungs as the bird easily carried him 40 ft. through the air from the back yard to the front yard. His parents Ruth and Jake Lowe heard the screaming and ran out side so did two family friends working near by Ruth was the first to see this horrific sight that would froze her blood. There her son was being abducted by a huge black bird resembling a Condor, punching up at its legs with all his might as his feathered kidnapper carried him aloft. Seconds later however, one of his punches must have hit home, because the bird suddenly opened his talons and dropped him to the ground before souring away with its mate. The four adults ran to the boy and discovered to there relief that except for a frayed shirt where the bird had grabbed him Marlon was physically ok. This is just one of the many bizarre accounts on file featuring encounters in North America with giant birds. Birds that should be impossible but yet seem to exist. In the case of Marlon Lowe he and his parents said the bird most closely resembled a Andean Condor, a black vulture like species with a wing span up to 10 ft. this species however is not native to North America. There is however a smaller version called the California condor which was once widely distributed across North America but by 1977 was virtually extinct in either case the structure of the condors feet in incapable of lifting and transporting anything as heavy as a ten year old boy.

Three days later, a McLean County farmer spotted

a bird of the same size and description flying over his farm. He, his wife, and several friends were watching radio-controlled airplanes when the bird flew close to the models. He claimed the bird had a wingspan of again, at least 10 feet across. It dwarfed the small planes that buzzed close to it.

The next sighting took place near Bloomington when a mail truck driver named James Majors spotted the two birds. He was driving from Armington to Delevan when she saw them alongside of the highway. One of the birds dropped down into a field and snatched up a small animal. He believed the two birds were probably condors, but with 8 to 10 foot wingspans!

On July 28, Lisa Montgomery of Tremont was washing her car when she looked up and saw a giant bird crossing the sky overhead.

At 2:00 AM on Saturday, July 30, Dennis Turner and several friends from Downs reported a monstrous bird perched on a telephone pole. Turner claimed that the bird dropped something near the base of the pole. When police officers investigated the sighting, they found a huge rat near the spot.

Reports of giant birds continued to come in from Bloomington and the north central Illinois area, then finally further south, from Decatur to Macon and Sullivan. On July 30, the same day the birds were reported near Bloomington, a writer and construction worker named "Texas John Huffer" filmed two large birds while fishing at Lake Shelbyville. Huffer was a resident of Tuscola and was spending the day with his son when they both spotted the birds roosting in a tree. Huffer frightened the birds with his boat horn and when they took flight, he managed to shoot over 100 feet of film. He sold a portion of the footage to a television station in Champaign for a newscast. Huffer said that the largest bird had a wingspan of over 12 feet.

After the footage aired, experts were quick to
dismiss Huffer’s claims, along with the reports of everyone else who reported the birds. Officials from the Department of Conservation insisted the birds were "merely" Turkey Vultures of the species cathartes aura. Not surprisingly, these claims were also refuted by wildlife experts and cryptozoologists who stated that no turkey vultures were of the size reported by witnesses. The largest flying bird in North America is the California Condor, which has a wingspread of up to 9 feet. The Condor is also on the endangered species list and is restricted to a few areas in California. There is little chance that a few stray birds traveled to Illinois to attack small children!

Another tale, related by Loren Coleman, involved the killing of a giant bird in December 1977. Strangely, this event also took place near Lawndale. Apparently a woman was on her way to work one morning when she saw something that looked like "a man standing in the road with something over its arms". The woman collapsed and was hospitalized, but later recovered. A group of men, after hearing this report, went to the spot, killed a large bird and then burned the body. The story was kept under wraps for some time for fear of ridicule.

So, what are these creatures? Some cryptozoological researchers like Loren Coleman believe that these thunderbirds may be Teratorns, a supposedly extinct bird that once roamed North and South America. If these prehistoric survivors are still around today, they could certainly account for the reports of the giant birds.

At this point, such creatures remain a mystery but
one thing is sure, the sightings have continued over the years and occasionally an unusual report still trickles in from Central Illinois. So keep that in mind the next time that you are standing in an open field and a large, dark shadow suddenly fills the sky overhead. Was that just a cloud passing in front of the sun... or something else??

76 posted on 10/16/2002 4:48:50 AM PDT by BillyJack
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To: Vic3O3
Fun reading!
77 posted on 10/16/2002 6:30:38 AM PDT by dd5339
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To: Ahban
Giant flying animal stuff:
78 posted on 10/16/2002 10:20:00 AM PDT by El Sordo
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To: Senator Pardek
This is true...there is only one bird....and he was the greatest Celtic of all time.
79 posted on 10/16/2002 10:25:28 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: albee
Yes - I stayed up late last night just to listen to him but alas, it was Noorey...oh well, I'm sure he'll talk about it when he's back.
80 posted on 10/16/2002 12:02:43 PM PDT by oline
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