Thursday, June 7, 2012
Thunder Bird as El Condor des Andes
I am now pretty certain that the thunder bird observed particularly in the Eastern USA is either an Andean Condor or a close cousin. Recall the Therodon with a 21 foot wingspan is part of this family and its continued existence has to be considered. We can list some noteworthy aspects of the evidence addressed to date.
1 The bird is black although juveniles will be grey. More importantly and consistently, a white collar is observed which also conforms to the Condor’s plumage.
2 The beak is not mentioned in sightings. The small Condor beak is not noteworthy at all and it is creditable that an observer would overlook it. This bothered me until I saw a condor photograph.
3 The head lacks feathers and the expectation is for a pink skin tone. However we have photographs in which the skin color is grey. Thus such a head could go unremarked when an observer had too little time.
4 The assumption that the bird is reliant on high ground is only that. We have plenty of evidence that the bird is able to roost on the ground while protected by large evergreens in particular. In practice, such a strategy is superior to other options and the bird is hardly a likely target for a carnivore.
5 It is able to launch vertically from cover which is unexpected but this has been observed. In fact its nimbleness is surprising.
6 It is nocturnal and is quite able to spot downers and other carcasses. It commonly hunts at night and likely feeds exclusively at night although they have been spotted feeding in daylight.
7 They are responsible for the cattle mutilation phenomena although not responsible for the actual killing of the cattle. Their effective range and small beak pretty well clinches it. They would also land directly on the carcass and concentrate on soft tissue with no expectation of completing the meal. A more common scenario would be the harvesting of road kill which would be more the scale of any meal attempted.
8 They will snatch small prey of the ground up to a weight approaching seventy pounds. It has been observed struggling with a seventy pound victim that it was forced to give up. This is certainly good enough for dogs and coyotes.
9 The creature itself likely weighs as much as seventy pounds which pretty well anticipates a wing lifting capacity of easily twice that.
10 We are seeing breeding pairs as often as not implying that they also hunt in pairs. Nests could easily be established on the ground in the skirts of a large conifer in particular. Obviously the bird chooses locales remote from human activity of any sort making discovery very unlikely.
Other large flying creatures appear to be out there all operating in the night besides this particular one. However, this appears to be the one most often observed.