Drunk birds sober up in Environment Yukon holding tank
Bohemian waxwings get tipsy on fermented berries
Birds in Yukon are getting tipsy on fermented berries, so Environment Yukon has set up an avian drunk tank where they can sober up safely.
With snow on the ground, birds are eating all they can before the colder weather ahead, and Bohemian waxwings love to eat mountain ash berries.
"What happens around this time of year is that after the frost, the berries will ferment and so the birds actually can get a little intoxicated from eating these berries and they do in fact get drunk," said Meghan Larivee with the animal health unit at Environment Yukon.
Tipsy birds have a harder time controlling their flight movements, and like people, their co-ordination under the influence is wonky. It can even be deadly.
"So they're flying around but they're not as good at avoiding obstacles," Larivee said. "Hitting windows is not uncommon."
If you come across a little bird that is drunk or unconscious, Environment Yukon will take it and put it in a holding tank of sorts — a hamster cage, "so they can sober up until they are able to be released," said Larivee.
If more care is required, like one bird last week, it goes to rehab at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.
"We'll basically try to keep it nice and quiet, away from stress," said Yukon Wildlife Preserve curator Maria Hallock.