'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 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...