If you have ever seen a ridiculously large bird, something bigger than any bird known to exist, know that you are not alone. We originally reported on this in 2002, but there have been other sightings since and it is still interesting as we near the end of 2019.
A bird the size of a small airplane has been spotted flying over south-west Alaska, puzzling scientists, the Anchorage Daily News reported this week. The newspaper quoted residents in the villages of Togiak and Manokotak as saying the creature had a wingspan of 4.6 metres (15 feet), making it the size of a small airplane.
What does something 1000 feet away look like?
The eye sees a bit better than these camera examples, but click to enlarge the next picture. You’ll see that even at 500 ft away, a 6 foot human could fit inside the height of your smallest fingernail.
Did witnesses see the wings of the giant bird actually flap? What is the wingspan of Boeing’s Bird of Prey?
“At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes,” Moses Coupchiak, 43, a heavy equipment operator from Togiak, was quoted as saying. – yahoonews
The thecyptocrew web site is more detail about giant birds some call thunderbirds.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A giant winged creature, like something out of Jurassic Park, has reportedly been sighted several times in Southwest Alaska in recent weeks. Villagers in Togiak and Manokotak say they have seen a huge bird that’s much bigger than anything they have seen before. A pilot says he spotted the creature while flying passenge
rs to Manokotak last week. He calculated that its wingspan matched the length of a wing on his Cessna 207. That’s about 14 feet. Other people have put the wingspan in a similar range.
Alaska is a big sparsely populated place so it is easy to wonder if the thunderbirds of cryptozoology might be hiding out there. Wikipeida has this interesting historical tidbit:
On April 26, 1890 the Tombstone Epitaph carried a story about two ranchers having killed a “winged mon
ster” resembling a huge alligator ninety-two feet in length, with an eight foot long head, jaws “thickly set with strong, sharp teeth”, a smooth hairless body with a maximum diameter of fifty inches, an immense pair of wings composed of a “thick and nearly transparent membrane” (with an estimated wingspan of 160 feet), two feet just ahead of the wings, and an elongated tail. According to Mark Hall, the Epitaph did indeed print a story about the capture of a large, unusual winged creature on April 26, 1890. Beyond this single story, however, no one has made historic corroboration that this event ever occurred; it is usually considered an urban legend.
Cryptozoologist Larry Coleman has more about sightings, including this one in 2018:
As detailed in an original posting from the Juneau Community Collective, eyewitness Tabitha Bauer wrote of her 4:00 pm, January 16, 2018 encounter:
Attn; I was just driving by the movie theater in the Valley and there was a huge black bird flying above the road. The wingspan had to be at-least 20 feet, it was almost as wide as the road. I have lived here all my life and have never seen anything like that, it freaked me out. It was not a raven or an eagle. This isn’t a joke. This thing was HUGE, almost the size of a small airplane. Did anyone else see it?
Bauer said it was “like an eagle, but five times as big.”
What could it be?
Here are a few ideas.
One theory is that it might be some kind of stealth aircraft.
There was the declassified Bat Winged Boeing “Bird of Prey” in use from 1992 to 1999 to demonstrate stealth technology. The craft is 47 feet long, but witnesses, one as close as 1000 feet from the creature say what they saw was a bird, not a jet. (1 mile = 1760 yards = 5280 feet. 1 yard = 3 feet so this was 333 yards, or less than 1/4 mile away.)
This answer seems the most unlikely because people generally have no problem telling an aircraft from a bird, and besides planes and jets do not generally flap their wings to fly, as far as we know, nor do they travel in complete silence as a bird does.
The bird didn’t have human legs, so we can probably rule out this being a sighting of the Mothman. It actually sounds quite a bit bigger than all the Mothman sightings I’ve heard about.
One fringe idea is that aliens might disguise their ships to fit in and better observe the earth. Why not? People talk about UFOs, but I’ve never heard anyone discuss the possibility that UFOs could look convincingly like high flying birds. Once they are in the sky, unless you are up there yourself, size is very difficult to judge.
If you wan to avoid theories that include aliens, there is also the remote possibility that this is an ancient creature that has survived unnoticed. Here is a likely candidate: The MysteriouUniverse site has an interesting article that mentions an ancient bird with a wingspan beyond 20 feet!
History Channel Thunderbird Image
But when it comes to big birds, this newly discovered prehistoric member of the family really takes the cake:
Scientists have identified the fossils of what could be the largest flying bird ever found. With an estimated 20- to 24-foot wingspan, the extinct P. sandersi was twice the size of today’s biggest flying bird, the royal albatross, according to the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina.
If you want to take this idea to an even wilder level, you could consider that some kind of time portal opens occasionally and prehistoric animals slip through. It is far fetched, but would also explain people and ships that occasionally vanish without a trace.
So what is this big bird!?
We simply do not know at this point, but if you have seen a ridiculously large bird, you are not a lone.