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05 October 2018, 03:58 | Randall Craig
Birds that eat a lot of berries like cedar waxwings can wind up drunk when those berries start to ferment
"It appears that some birds are getting a little more "tipsy" than normal", Techar wrote.
Residents of Gilbert, Minnesota, have been reporting birds flying into windows and cars and acting generally confused.
The reason, authorities said, is an early frost that sped up the fermenting process of local berries. That, plus many birds having yet to migrate south, means that more of them are feeling the effects of the alcohol in the berries than in past years. Young birds may be particularly susceptible to drunkenness because their livers have not grown large enough to handle the unintentional imbibing.
The police department says, while the birds have been flying into cars and windows, there's no need to panic and they'll eventually sober up.
Another commenter joked, "There goes the chance of any bird from Northern MN ever being on the Supreme Court".
"They just get sloppy and clumsy", Matthew Dodder, a bird expert from California, tells Antonia Noori Farzan of the Washington Post. Or, more specifically, berries that froze, causing the starch they contain to convert to sugar, which in turn fermented when the berries thawed.
"They'll be flying kind of erratically", he said. "They have actually fallen out of trees on occasion". "We get in birds into our Wildlife Care Center in the fall that are drunk on fermenting berries", Bob Sallinger, the conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland, wrote in an email. Police initially suspected, ahem, fowl play, but post-mortem examinations found berries in the birds' gastrointestinal tracts and high alcohol levels in a liver sample, according to National Geographic's Owen, suggesting that fermented fruits played a role in their deaths.
Most of us know what it's like to have one too many adult beverages.
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