Citizens urged to catch birds who get drunk from berries in the Yukon

A Bohemian waxwing positions a mountain ash berry before swallowing on Dec. 18, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Anchorage Daily News, Erik Hill
A Bohemian waxwing positions a mountain ash berry before swallowing on Dec. 18, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Anchorage Daily News, Erik Hill

The Canadian Press

WHITEHORSE – Imbibing and then flying for some birds in the Yukon is proving to be a hazardous experience.

Environment Yukon is warning that Bohemian waxwings in the territory have been gorging on fermented mountain ash berries, then attempting to fly off with less than successful results.

Meghan Larivee (lah-REE’-vay), with Environment Yukon’s animal health unit, says the problem is compounded when the birds fill their expandable esophagus with the berries, where they ferment even more for a second dose of alcohol.

While the fruit-eating birds have a higher tolerance for alcohol, Larivee says enough fermented berries can have the same impact on birds as alcohol does on humans.

She says the alcohol impacts the birds’ navigation systems and they can end up flying into windows and other objects.

Anyone spotting the boozer birds is urged to catch them and bring them to the animal health unit for a bit of sobering up. (CKRW)

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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