Let’s clear something up right away. When we’re talking about birds in this article we mean the feathered animals and not British slang for girls. So yes, in the Canadian territory Yukon little drunk tanks were opened to take care of birds, in most cases the Bohemian waxwing, who ate too manny fermented berries. This time of the year you are likely to see many drunken flying accidents and the first victims were already welcomed to the holding tanks. On behalf of everyone who has a soft spot for drunks and animals: Canada, respect!
The phenomenon of drinking and flying is pretty common this time of the year in Yukon. And so the Animal Health Unit is well prepared. Spokeswoman Meghan Larivee described the sight to the National Post: “There’s a couple big flocks, and you can see them flying a bit erratically, trying to avoid things,” After a drunken crash the birds are nursed back to health in a small holding cell, where it’s dark and quiet to speed up the recovery.
The extra help for the waxwings isn’t ‘too much’ if we may believe Derek Matthews of the Vancouver Avian Research Centre: “There are many, many records of waxwings drinking themselves almost to death by eating more fermenting berries than their bodies can handle. They either die from ruptured livers, or by flying quasi-drunkenly into plate-glass windows.”
The Bohemian waxwings are not the only animals who have alcohol on the menu. Mooses in for example Scandinavia are known to feast on fermented apples, while in Africa almost all the animals gets smashed on ripe marula fruit. Experts claim that by sticking to their boozy diet for centuries the waxwings’ metabolism for alcohol works even better than that of humans.
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