Birds Fall From Sky

Spotted Sunday on Ave 50 near El Paso, Highland Park

Just the day before, I heard This American Life’s show on supernatural fowl. I was surprised to hear that others have had similar strange bird experiences.

I’ll never forget the time I was walking with some friends and came upon three dying doves laying on the ground. One dove was still able to move and was walking around the almost dead doves nervously and making cooing sounds. I turned to my friend and said “So this is what it sounds like when doves cry.”

While I was taking these photos, a family stopped to check out the creepy scene. They found a plastic bag in their van and gently picked the pigeons up off the street and placed them in the bag. It was quite touching. How or why the birds died is a mystery.

23 thoughts on “Birds Fall From Sky

  1. Good photo’s Chimatli, as a pigeon aficionado myself who as a youngster raised pigeons, as did many other kids in Lincoln Hts, I may have an explanation for you.
    There are some pigeons we used to call “tumbler’s” that have an instinct to show off and tumble down from the sky when flying in a flock. We used to prize the pigeons that tumbled the farthest, from high in the sky tumbling almost to the ground. Sometimes other pigeons would be seen tumbling together almost like they were trying to outdo each other or showing off.
    Once in a while a tumbler would hit the ground and other tumblers would follow the leader in this dive to death.
    This might be what happened to these pigeons, they tumbled together to infinity.
    A good explanation of this phenomena was given by Hannibal Lector in the great movie “Hannibal” ,where he describes the genetic makeup of a deep tumbler and if both parent birds are deep tumblers, the offspring with the deep tumbler genes in both parents will surely tumble to it’s death.

  2. Saw some dead pigeons like that and asked. Word I got was “avian flu”. Don’t know if that’s so or not.

    Be Good

  3. My first thought was avian bird flu and I kinda cringed when one of the family members picked the bird up with her bare hands. However, I think DQ’s explanation is more plausible as there was a huge flock of pigeons overhead and it looked as if one pigeon was still alive.
    What is still mysterious is why were they in the bike lane???

  4. WTF???? That is so bizarre. Thanks don quixote for the explanation. That would make sense as to why the birds would all be in one place.

    As to why they were in the bike lane: they must have been on a suicide mission trying to kill me when I rode my bike past there on Sunday morning!

  5. Oh, thanks chimatli documenting this, and thanks to the family for picking them up. I would have done the same. I wonder if they were theirs to start with?

  6. This could also be birds that were poisoned by Avitrol by a pest control company. Avitrol is supposed to be a frightening agent because it causes some birds to go into convulsions, scaring the others way. But really the pest control companies often put enough bait out to kill birds. The dose depends on how much bait the bird eats, so some birds survive and others die a painful death. Poisoning is much more likely than avian flu. I don’t know much about “tumblers”, which seems possible too.

  7. I think there is someone in the area of Ave. 50 and El Paso that has raised pigeons for years. Pigeons are beautiful societal birds that have many genetic distinctions.
    If you have some time watch a flock of pigeons for a while and you will see the tumblers showing off.
    We had tumblers, top notch’s (like woody woodpecker), white kings (good for eating squab), bootsie’s (feathers on their legs and feet (feet?), parlor tumblers that couldn’t fly, all kinds of beautiful pigeons.
    As kids we would do night raids sometimes to steal someones prize pigeons from the coop. Like a James Bond operation.

  8. I’m going with the poison theory because it seems to me that they may have fallen, or dropped dead, while sitting on the same power line. (Note the close proximity of each corpse to one another) Although I don’t doubt the “Tumbler” theory does occur, It seems unlikely in this case that all six birds were tumbling in one compact mass to land like that, and even then, for all of them to hit the ground at the same high velocity to cause instant death seems even more implausible. Also, people that raise pigeons often collect different varieties and colors of pigeons & doves like tans & whites with fancy “boots” etc. By the photos, these look to be the typical grey with dark hackles, urban pest variety.
    Then again, they may in fact be Kamakaze Pigeons that were going after Walt!

  9. I think this is likely from poison. Most people view pigeons as pests and wouldn’t hesitate to try to get rid of them this way.

  10. Al it’s highly doubtful it was poison that killed these pigeons because the bodies are too close together and there are only dead pigeons.
    As a roofing contractor I have seen what happens when birds are poisoned, it’s not a pretty sight.
    On some fancy hotels the maintenance guys will spread poisoned corn kernels around. The scene is sickening, dead pigeons scattered all over the place, and not only pigeons, I have seen dead hawks, owls, crows, seagulls, and numerous other songbirds all dead from the same pigeon poison.
    It should be outlawed along with all animal poisons that kill indiscriminately.

  11. Don Quixote’s “tumbler” theory sounds intriguing and disturbing. They definitely don’t look run over.

    I have to say, I’m not a big fan of pigeons, though I certainly wish them no harm. Quite the contrary, I think their sense of self-preservation is sort of whack. I don’t know how many times I’ve been driving and a pigeon takes its sweet time waddling out of the way. I’m like, “Fly out of the way you #%#%#@%, you’re a %#$%% bird!!!”

    I ran over one once at the corner of 1st and State streets and I couldn’t get the popping sound out of my head all day.

    And why is it that when pigeons get squashed by a car, there’s always one wing pointing straight up, like the pigeon is raising its hand to answer a classroom question?

    Now crows, I like crows. They’re smart, and they hustle out of the way pronto. I’ll never accidently run over a crow.

  12. Oh no! Flying Pigeons dead!? This is terrible news.

    As to the questions about the bike lane … well it’s obvious isn’t it?

    Flying Pigeon bike shop is only a couple of blocks away.

  13. Tia Concha CSI here…..
    I know all about DEAD PAJAROS,… but enough about my Old Man!
    Those dead birds asina look like they were thrown already dead, out of a moving car.
    Or, it could have been a DRIVE BY by El Pajaro from Avenues.
    But Check it Out-what I really think is that THEY WERE TRAMPLED TO DEATH by other pigeons that were Christmas Shopping!

  14. Just a side note on tumbling. Mass tumbling to instant death isn’t just relegated to pigeons.
    I recall a few years back when at an air show the US Air Force Thunder-birds (I think), were doing there stunning aerial acrobatics and the lead jet went into a dive and couldn’t pull out,he hit straight into the ground at about four hundred miles per hour, three or four other jets followed the leader straight into oblivion. It seems they all fly by instrument only and probably never saw or knew that in a flash they were dead on impact.
    Just like tumbling pigeons on Ave 50 and El Paso

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