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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Could the 'Thunderbird' be a real creature ?

By T.K. Randall
February 13, 2015 · Comment icon 73 comments



Could the Thunderbird be a relic from a prehistoric age ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Ryan Somma
Legends of a huge bird have been an integral part of American Midwest culture for centuries.
Myths and tales of a massive eagle-like bird in North America have persisted not just in the centuries-old stories of Native American tribes but in far more recent accounts as well.

On July 25th 1977 at around 8:30pm, two boys, Travis Goodwin and Marlon Lowe, had been playing hide-and-seek in their back yard in Lawndale, Illinois when two huge birds suddenly swooped down out of nowhere, narrowly missing them.

When the two creatures swung around and swooped down a second time one of them managed to grab Marlon in its claws, lifting him 3ft in to the air for several seconds before dropping him again.

Four adults including the boy's parents and two other visiting friends witnessed the incident.
In 2002, another large bird was seen by several people in Alaska. Its wingspan was estimated to be around 14ft across however this figure would later be called in to question by scientists.

"I’m certainly not aware of anything with a 14-foot wingspan that’s been alive for the last 100,000 years," raptor specialist Phil Schemf told the Reuters news agency at the time.

Some critics have argued that these sightings and many others like them could be attributed to encounters with existing birds of prey, especially some of the larger eagle species.

Whether there exists an eagle that can pick up a child however remains a matter of some debate.

Source: The Epoch Times | Comments (73)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #64 Posted by Podo 8 years ago
It existed. Just finding remains would have been enough to generate hundreds of tales, many exaggerated, told next to tribal fires. https://en.wikipedia...Teratornithidae The end. I'd never heard of this type of bird, thanks for posting. This could easily have been the origin of the thunderbird myth.
Comment icon #65 Posted by Myles 8 years ago
It existed. Just finding remains would have been enough to generate hundreds of tales, many exaggerated, told next to tribal fires. https://en.wikipedia...Teratornithidae The end. Pretty cool. I'm sure many stories originated from old remains. However, I think overly huge bird stories originate from shadows. I've had it happen to me a couple times. A hawk flies in front of the sun at the right time and a huge shadow travels across the ground. I always look up because I expect to see something bigger. It's always a hawk. Common red-tailed hawks are abundant throughout the USA. With wingspans at... [More]
Comment icon #66 Posted by Harte 8 years ago
It existed. Just finding remains would have been enough to generate hundreds of tales, many exaggerated, told next to tribal fires. https://en.wikipedia...Teratornithidae The end. Remains, yes, but given the dates from your link, I'm sure there were plenty of visual sightings of this bird by the peoples in both Americas. Harte
Comment icon #67 Posted by Hanslune 8 years ago
Remains, yes, but given the dates from your link, I'm sure there were plenty of visual sightings of this bird by the peoples in both Americas. Harte ...and they could have survived in isolated pockets for thousands of years like the pygmy mammoths.
Comment icon #68 Posted by Reilly. 8 years ago
...and they could have survived in isolated pockets for thousands of years like the pygmy mammoths. I'm sorry, pigmy mammoths?
Comment icon #69 Posted by Hanslune 8 years ago
I'm sorry, pigmy mammoths? Yes! http://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/historyculture/pygmymammoth.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_mammoth http://archives.datapages.com/data/pacific/data/098/098001/169_ps0980169.htm
Comment icon #70 Posted by Reilly. 8 years ago
Wow! Awesome.
Comment icon #71 Posted by RobertaStack 8 years ago
I'd still take my chances with the thunderbird over the cassowary any day.
Comment icon #72 Posted by Harte 8 years ago
I'm sorry, pigmy mammoths? Yes. Known in scientific circles as Oximoronia Histericalae. Harte
Comment icon #73 Posted by Swede 8 years ago
Wow! Awesome. In addition to Hans' worthy references you may also be interested in further researching the Wrangel Island mammoths that were also the product of island dwarfism. Their survival until as recently as ~4000 BP (2000 BC) is of interest as is the notable difference in geographical location and late Pleistocene/latter Holocene environmental conditions. http://www.nature.co...s/362337a0.html http://dwb4.unl.edu/.../vartanyan.html .


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