A Minnesota town is finding itself bedeviled by the cutest of problems: birds are getting drunk on fermented berries and making nuisances of themselves.
As Huffington Post reports, the police in Gilbert, Minnesota, would find it cute if it weren’t such a hassle. People keep calling the cops about the menacing fine feathered friends — as if there’s anything that the police can do about it.
Here’s the problem: birds generally eat berries that are still on the trees. By the time that the berries have had time to decay and ferment, the animals are long gone, having flown south for the winter. However, this year an early frost has interfered with the natural order of things, giving the birds ample opportunity to eat fruit that has started the fermentation process. And when they do that, they get “drunk.”
And drunk birds aren’t funny at all. Amateur ornithologist Matthew Dodder says that buzzed birds are a nightmare for drivers.
“They’ll be flying kind of erratically. We typically see them flying lower than usual through traffic. They’re just careless and they’re not looking for cars or other obstacles… They just get sloppy and clumsy. They have actually fallen out of trees on occasion.”
The major culprits are robins, cedar waxwings and thrushes — three species that particularly enjoy berries in their diets.
The local birds of Gilbert, Minnesota, have been getting so drunk that the town’s police department had to release a statement about the spring-break-esque behavior https://t.co/yUTh4T0h0h— New York Magazine (@NYMag) October 5, 2018
Fortunately, the Gilbert Police have a good sense of humor about it. In a Facebook post, the police have asked the public not to call law enforcement about the birds except in a few specific circumstances. For example:
- [If you see] Heckle & Jeckle walking around, being boisterous or playing practical jokes.
- Woodstock pushing Snoopy off the doghouse for no apparent reason.
- The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic on Main Street.
At this point it bears noting that roadrunners — also known as chaparral birds — are native to the southwestern United States, not Minnesota, so it’s unlikely that anyone in Gilbert will see one. Hopefully this post won’t “ruffle the feathers” of the Gilbert Police Department.
Outside of Gilbert, drunken animals are no laughing matter.
On the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, for example, the local monkey population has learned that human tourists often enjoy sweet and delicious drinks — and the primates have developed a taste for their alcohol. All across the island, the vervet monkeys nab drinks from tourists who aren’t looking, later falling over in intoxication, sometimes creating traffic problems.
However, according to The Daily Mail, some of the island’s monkeys are apparently teetotalers, as very few of the island’s monkeys repeatedly inebriated. Most drink in moderation, according to observers, and some swear alcohol off entirely.