Updating the True Ghost Stories Page recently, I once again came across several reports of huge birds that I received around 2006. It intrigued me enough to go searching for more information. I remember trying to research the phenomenon at the time I originally received the stories, and not finding much. Fortunately, the web is far bigger today and I have discovered some intriguing information about huge bird sightings.
First, the basics: the largest known living flying bird (as opposed to flightless ones like ostriches), the wandering albatross, has a wingspan from 8 to 11.5 feet. Other huge birds include storks, pelicans, the Andean condor, with a wingspan up to 10 feet, and the endangered California condor, which tops out at 9.5 feet across. Only the last species lives in the United States; other large U.S. birds include bald eagles and golden eagles. Birds with larger wingspans, such as the astonishing 23 foot wide Giant Teratorn, are extinct.
Nevertheless, people in modern times have reported sightings of huge birds whose wingspans easily surpass any known living species. Many of the sightings take place in Texas, but these gigantic animals have also been spotted in Australia, Alaska, Alabama, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, and other places. Reports range from solitary birds sitting in trees to entire flocks of eight or more birds. Although the Native American legend of the Thunderbird is sometimes mentioned as an aside to the sightings, very few of the eyewitness accounts make any supernatural claims; they are describing birds engaging in ordinary birdlike behavior, unremarkable but for their incredibly large size.
What could these birds be? Theories range from relict animals (species believed to be extinct but perhaps still living) to simple optical illusion, causing large birds to look even larger in the eye of the beholder due to lack of perspective or landmarks against which to compare. Mistaken identity does likely account for some of the sightings, but what of the giant birds seen taking off from trees?
Compounding the mystery is that reports are often clustered around a place and time (perhaps the most famous of these being the “Big Bird” sightings in Texas in the 1970s) and then either abruptly or gradually peter out. The group of stories I received during the year 2006 would seem to bear this out. Perhaps the birds only swoop low enough or through populated places under certain conditions, or perhaps public reports encourage others to share their stories. Whatever the case, this mystery continues to fascinate me due to its earthly nature, and I would love to hear more experiences from readers.
Here are some of the original stories I received on this topic:
Subject: WWW Form Submission
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 9:16 PM
Name: Arturo Perez
Location: Eagle Pass, Texas
Story: This story happened back in 2002. I was only 17 at the time. Anyways, my father and I fish and hunt all the time. I remember towards the end of December I had decided to go hunting. My father didn’t go that time, because he was sick with the flu. I remember I was hunting at my grandfather’s ranch, which is less than two miles away from my house. Well, I was sitting in the deer blind for about an hour, and had yet to see anything.
Well, the temperature started dropping rapidly, clouds started to cover the sky, and a gentle (but cold) breeze settled in. It was around 5:40 p.m. when something behind the feeder caught my eye, about 150 yards away. I looked through my binoculars and, after a few moments, nearly dropped them at what I saw.
Perched on top of an elm tree was a bird of impossible size. It looked like an oversize buzzard. This thing was huge, I’m talking about 6 ft. tall. I watched it as it sat up in the tree, nibbling at what I’m guessing was ticks or fleas on its chest. After about 2 or 3 minutes of this, it spread its massive wings (at least 15 ft. wingspan) and flew off in the opposite direction. Surprisingly, during this whole experience, I was not scared at all. Of course, nobody believed me when I got home, but I know what I saw.
Anyone with questions or comments feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject: WWW Form Submission
Date: Sunday, May 07, 2006 11:10 PM
Location: Amarillo Texas
Okay, so I was looking through the page and I saw a story about someone who saw a really big bird and I remembered about something I saw once. I was like in 8th grade and me and my friend were at the park. We both lived REALLY close to it. Well, it was dark and we were just sitting there talking when we realized it was kind of late. We were walking together talking when all of a sudden we both stopped.
“Do you hear that?” I asked her. It sounded like something flapping. We both looked up and saw a really huge bird-like figure. I could tell it was black and it had white tips on the wings. We were both so surprised by the size of it. I can’t tell you how big it was but trust me it was huge! We looked at each other said bye and ran to our own houses.
Well, when I got home my mom’s friend was there and told the two of them what I saw. So they got some chairs and were sitting on the porch when the thing flew by again! We went inside and just sat there for a minute. We talked about it but no one had an explanation for what we saw. Till this day I still don’t know what it was but I sure would like to find out!
Well, that was my story. It probably doesn’t sound too scary, but trust me if you would have seen this thing you would’ve been scared too!
Subject: HUGE Birds – Flocking of appx. 50 birds at 35 – 40,000 ft.
Date: Monday, November 25, 2002 1:58 AM
Location: Arlington, Texas
On 22 November 2002 at approximately 3:45 CST over Arlington, Texas (between Dallas & Ft. Worth) while watching large jets spraying wide trails of something in “crisscross” patterns over the DFW area using 20 power binoculars, I happened to notice a flock of HUGE birds of prey. I say “Birds of Prey” because I am very familiar with eagles, hawks and falcons, etc. and the way they “Delta Back” their wings when they are making a dive on prey. These magnificent animals were doing that in a playful way. One would delta-back the wings and dive for about five thousand feet before pulling-up and joining the group.
These birds weren’t going south in a migrating way. They seemed to be just having a meeting. They would disperse to somewhere (?) until there were only approximately five in sight, then regroup from somewhere. We were never able to see where they went when they “dispersed.” They just seemed to disappear, then return. They were much higher than the Cessna-type small planes that fly around here. In fact, when we looked at them without the optics, they were BARELY visible. If I hadn’t have known they were there, I would never have noticed them. They stayed around for about 45 – 55 minutes, then just drifted south until we weren’t able to focus on them any longer. I have to wonder how often this goes on without anyone noticing them because of the extreme altitude of the meeting.
Back about six, maybe seven years ago, when Hale-Bopp was making its appearance, I saw another bird that was way out of normal size proportions. It was about forty feet high, behind my house and flying very slowly, with nothing remarkable about it except that it was about one in the morning CST and it was alone. Additionally, it might have been the color of ashes. It’s wingspan was bigger than I dare to report to you. I don’t relish being thought of as a liar or being prone to exaggeration, but it was BIG.
Our local FOX TV News did a special a few years ago about large (LARGE) birds being spotted aroung Texas in a special called “The Texas Files.” I know now what the excitement was about. Wish I had more to give you than my honor and this report. With luck, we may get some photos soon.
Best to you and your families.
Lou K. Montgomery
Dianna L. Montgomery
Subject: big birds
Date: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 5:15 PM
I live in South Texas and I have had the displeasure of seeing these large
birds on two separate occasions. My granny calls them lechusa (le-chew-sa) and they are considered evil and bad luck depending on color.
The first time was like in 2001. After a night of kicking back at my friend’s house my sister and I were walking to the car and my sister emphasized to get in the car fast. I look over my shoulder expecting someone coming to get me, but instead my sister points up to a big bird that perched itself on top of the next building that we were leaving from. Its wing span was huge and it stood about four feet tall. I would not have believed it unless I saw it. We couldn’t see its face, though. It was a very well lit area and it just landed and it looked like its head was turned like an owl’s. Very smooth feathers.
Last week while walking from the garage to the house I saw another one. I couldn’t tell you what color. It was cloudy and the sky was all orange so all I saw was the shape, but it was the same size because the wing span was about my height. 5 feet. It look like it slowed down and dove in the front yard. I went to the front and I did not see it.
According to Mexican folklore you are supposed to whistle back to it, say curse words, and stay out of the darkness, especially if you are a not so good person yourself.