Monday, November 21, 2011

Giant Birds

Since here in the States we're celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I thought we should take a look at giant bird stories...

There have been various reports of giant birds sighted in the wilds or attacking humans. In some cases they may be exaggerated accounts of large predatory species of birds, but other cases may not be so. Native American customs include the legendary 'thunderbird' often depicted in totems and art. These thunderbirds  got their name from the sound their wings make, and they are said to flash lightning from their eyes and live on mountaintops. They are symbols of strength and power.

But some say the legends were inspired by the real thing. Perhaps there were prehistoric holdouts in the early formative years of Native American culture, and perhaps there still are. This may explain some of the tales in modern times.

Wikipedia relates one of these accounts:

"There is a story that in April 1890, two cowboys in Arizona killed a giant birdlike creature with an enormous wingspan. It was said to have had smooth skin, featherless wings like a bat and a face that resembled an alligator. This description has some similarity to that of a prehistoric pterodactyl, an animal whose existence was known at the time. They are supposed to have dragged the carcass back to town, where it was pinned with wings outstretched across the entire length of a barn."

More recently:

"Among the most controversial reports is a July 25, 1977 account from Lawndale, Illinois. About 9 P.M. a group of three boys were at play in a residential back yard. Two large birds approached, and chased the boys. Two escaped unharmed, but the third boy, ten-year-old Marlon Lowe, did not. One of the birds reportedly clamped his shoulder with its claws, then lifted Lowe about two feet off the ground, carrying him some distance. Lowe fought against the bird, which released him."

It's always fun to see giant birds depicted in adventure films, like the Roc in a Sinbad movie by Ray Harryhausen.

So this Thursday, if you celebrate the holiday, enjoy your big bird!

1 comment:

Bird of Paradise said...

The giant two headed ROC from the RAY HARRIHASAUN classic THE 7th VOYAGE of SINBAD and a REALY BIG BIG BIRDIE