According to Gilbert Police Department in Minnesota, they have received several reports of birds who appeared to be "under the influence" after flying into cars and acting confused. "Birds actually do get literally intoxicated when they eat berries that have started fermenting", a bird expert tells the Duluth News Tribune. Techar then explained that the problem may appear more pronounced this year not just because of the early frost, but because numerous birds had not migrated south yet.
"It appears that some birds are getting a little more "tipsy" than normal", the department said in a statement. The young folks, unable to handle the toxins, are especially affected, police warned.
The police department says there's no need to panic, the birds will eventually sober up.
How does a bird get drunk? "They're just careless and they're not looking for cars or other obstacles".
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"Oh my! That explains all the birds bouncing off my window lately", said one resident. In 2012, for instance, researchers performed necropsies on several flocks of cedar waxwings that had collided fatally with solid objects like windows and fences in California; they discovered that the unfortunate animals had stuffed themselves with overripe berries of the Brazilian Pepper Tree, and concluded that the birds' deaths were the result of "flying under the influence of ethanol".
Fermented berries can have the same impact on birds as alcohol does on humans.
Luckily, Techar says that, much like people, the birds will sober up after their berry bender and stop harassing unsuspecting townsfolk. Portland has seen multiple incidents in the past decade where between 30 and 50 robins have suddenly turned up dead due to suspected alcohol poisoning.
"Sometimes, they just need a bit of time in a quiet setting to recover", he said.