Birds flying under the influence in Minnesota town

Tipsy birds in Minnesota have caused motorists to drive more defensively.
Tipsy birds in Minnesota have caused motorists to drive more defensively.

Credit: Bruce Bennett

Credit: Bruce Bennett

Motorists are told to be alert for drunken drivers. But what about birds flying under the influence?

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Birds apparently enjoying fermented berries in Gilbert, Minnesota, have been flying into windows and vehicles and causing a flap in this small town, the Star Tribune reported.

Gilbert's police chief, Ty Techar, went on Facebook to warn residents about the loopy birds, and had some fun in the process.

“The reason behind this occurrence is certain berries we have in our area have fermented earlier than usual due to an early frost,” Techar wrote. “Generally, younger birds’ livers cannot handle the toxins as efficiently as more mature birds.”

Techar did warn residents, however, to call police if they saw “Tweety acting as if 10 feet tall and getting into confrontation with cats,” or “The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic on Main Street.” Or, call authorities if they saw “Angry Birds laughing and giggling uncontrollably and appearing to be happy.”

The message was clear: If you drink, don’t fly.

The humorous Facebook post brought plenty of comments from residents perplexed by the tipsy birds.

“This explains why I have hit seven birds with my car this week,” said Rebecca Rankila Warwas.

“I was going to say something … but I thought I was crazy!!!” wrote Betsy Walli. “This has been happening to me!”

Inebriated birds are not rare, according to Jim Williams, who writes the "Wingnut" bird blog for the Star Tribune. But most migratory birds prefer a diet of nuts and insects, he said.

“Every once in a while you get a (fruit) tree that ferments,” Williams said. “It’s like drinking wine, I guess.”

Birds usually fly above vehicle traffic and are nimble enough to avoid cars. However, a few berries might cause them to become less than sharp.

"They're flying low, they're not flying very well," Williams told the Star Tribune. "It's drunken driving, except they're flying straight into people's windshields.

“They’re behaving like drunk people.”