'Tired and emotional' drunk birds fall from sky
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Saturday 03 November 2012
Summer’s fruitfulness holds unexpected hazards for the country’s birdlife.
Vets who investigated the deaths of 12 young blackbirds in Cumbria have concluded that they were not the victims of foul play: they were drunk.
Fermented berries lying on the ground offer an irresistible alcoholic treat. Some birds have enjoyed them so much they have become merry, then unsteady and have had to prop themselves up to avoid falling over, they say.
Unsteadiness is risky enough on the ground, but in the air and among the trees it is a serious liability. The birds were all healthy but had been injured when they were found at a primary school and the police were called.
However, another bird, found alive but “unwell”, was sent to a wildlife centre where staff observed it placing its wings on the ground to steady itself and leaning against the wall of its enclosure to hold itself upright. Post-mortem tests found high levels of alcohol in one of the birds. The researchers from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, writing in Veterinary Record, suspect the injuries sustained were from mid-air collisions.
The surviving blackbird recovered and was returned to the wild apparently unharmed.
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ukip Jelly Babies cause uproar on Amazon
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...
£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ORM Consultant is required t...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of educat...