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No. 80: Mar-Apr 1992

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Thousands Of Grebes Fall From The Skies

December 10, 1991. Minersville, Utah. About 9:30 PM, the skies of Minersville were filled with the cries of birds. According to V. Hollingshead

"They were just falling out of the sky, hitting the church, cars, the ball parks. Hundreds of them fell all over the streets. You could hear them hitting each other in the air, and hitting the ground."

Minersville Elementary School Secretary S. Taylor reported that the birds landed everywhere, including the roofs of houses; they even broke some automobile windshields. Hundreds were killed, but many survived their fall and were taken to bodies of water where they could rest and take off. (Grebes cannot take off from land.)

The birds were identified as eared grebes, which were migrating from Great Salt Lake to Baja California. It was theorized that a snowstorm and fog had exhausted and disoriented them.

(Christensen, Kathleen; "Thousands of Grebes Fall from the Skies," Spectrum, December 12, 1991. Cr. D.H. Palmer.)

From Science Frontiers #80, MAR-APR 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss