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View Full Version : Bird size of small plane spotted


medea
Oct 20, 2002, 02:25 PM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) -- A bird the size of a small airplane was recently said to be seen flying over southwest 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, like something out of the movie "Jurassic Park," had a wingspan of 14 feet (4.6 meters) -- making it the size of a small airplane. :eek:

"At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes," the paper quoted Moses Coupchiak, 43, a heavy equipment operator from Togiak, as saying. "Instead of continuing toward me, it banked to the left, and that's when I noticed it wasn't a plane."

The Daily News, the largest daily in Alaska, said scientists had no doubt that people in the region, west of Dillingham, had seen the winged creature but they were skeptical about its reported size.

"I'm certainly not aware of anything with a 14-foot wingspan that's been alive for the last 100,000 years," the paper quoted raptor specialist Phil Schemf as saying.

Coupchiak said the bird disappeared over the hill and he then radioed Togiak residents to tell them to keep their children in.

Another local resident, a pilot who had initially dismissed the reports, said he recently saw the bird from a distance of just 1,000 feet (300 meters) while flying his airplane.

"The people in the plane saw him," John Bouker was quoted as saying. "He's huge, he's huge, he's really, really big. You wouldn't want to have your children out."

Schemf and Rob Macdonald of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said there had been several sightings over the past year and a half of a Steller's eagle, a fish-eating bird that can weigh 20 pounds (10 kg) and have a wingspan of eight feet (2.60 meters), the newspaper reported.

http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/West/10/18/offbeat.alaska.bird.reut/index.html

barkmonster
Oct 20, 2002, 02:50 PM
Wierd.

I wonder if they'll see it again or if it's migrating somewhere ?

I hope some wanker doesn't shoot it out of the sky, something that rare should be left alone regardless of how worried local people are that it's going to swoop down and eat their children or something. If they'd said it had jaws like a crocodile I could see the point in fear but it sounds like some rare species of bird, maybe something that's assumed to be extict or even a new species. You'd think with all the crap we pour into the atmosphere, especially america with the government's almost total disregard for lowering it's contribution to global polution levels would have some effect on the DNA of wildlife eventually.

Saying that, imagine if they did catch one (assuming there's more than one), what sort of bird might it turn out to be ?

A new species or some kind of overgrown version of a current species, something that large either has to have evolved over time from something smaller or have existed for a long time but never been discovered yet.

medea
Oct 20, 2002, 03:05 PM
there are new animals discovered all the time, so this is probably the case, of course it could be just a very large one of stellers eagles, some humans are born unnaturally big so I'm sure it can happen in other animals. I'd like to see some footage of this thing though, that would be amazing.

MacBram
Oct 20, 2002, 03:45 PM
"I'm certainly not aware of anything with a 14-foot wingspan that's been alive for the last 100,000 years," the paper quoted raptor specialist Phil Schemf as saying.

The BBC here in the UK has been doing a lot of progammes lately that attempt to recreate extinct animals and habitats through computer generated animation. A few have been set in and around the last ice-age. One Panorama type programme was all about some very large birds of an eagle or condor variety that had the 14' wingspan. The programme linked it to the Thunderbirds revered by early native American peoples not so long ago. Seems the birds were most often seen drifting great distances on thermals produced by large storm systems. The programme seemed fairly well documented.

SilvorX
Oct 21, 2002, 12:49 AM
this could turn into something like the loch ness monster :P lol
jk

MacBandit
Oct 21, 2002, 01:01 AM
Originally posted by barkmonster
Wierd.

I wonder if they'll see it again or if it's migrating somewhere ?

I hope some wanker doesn't shoot it out of the sky, something that rare should be left alone regardless of how worried local people are that it's going to swoop down and eat their children or something. If they'd said it had jaws like a crocodile I could see the point in fear but it sounds like some rare species of bird, maybe something that's assumed to be extict or even a new species. You'd think with all the crap we pour into the atmosphere, especially america with the government's almost total disregard for lowering it's contribution to global polution levels would have some effect on the DNA of wildlife eventually.

Saying that, imagine if they did catch one (assuming there's more than one), what sort of bird might it turn out to be ?

A new species or some kind of overgrown version of a current species, something that large either has to have evolved over time from something smaller or have existed for a long time but never been discovered yet.


Last time I checked Canada had a serious problem with dumping hazardous waste. Especially with mining operations. One of the most interesting cases is case of a mining operation dumping some sort of heavy metal I don't remember exactly what right in to a local lake. The interesting part is at first it nearly killed off all the wildlife but has since turned into the most wildlife abundant habitat supposedly in all of Canada. This is somewhere in the central provinces again I don't remember exactly where.


I personally believe that it's likely to be either a new undiscovered species (not that unlikely) or simply a case of people overstating the real size of the bird.

Gelfin
Oct 21, 2002, 03:37 PM
It's far more likely, of course, that someone overestimated the size of a quite ordinary large raptor. Proportions are notoriously hard to estimate in the air because you don't have a good frame of reference.

While it's true that new species are discovered all the time, it's deceptive to use that to support the existence of a giant creature of any sort. The only even remotely large creatures to have been discovered in probably decades have been giant squid, which live in environments too inhospitable to humans for them to be observable under any normal conditions. Even at that, we had physical evidence for the existence of giant squid long before we ever identified them as a species, in the form of decaying tentacles and such washed up on shore.

But this isn't a deep sea creature we're talking about. This is a bird. A bird with a fourteen foot wingspan would have an enormous range, and would require a lot of food. If anyone had ever shot one, we'd have evidence of them, so they wouldn't seem to have good cause to be afraid of human settlements. In fact, if such birds existed, we'd probably have to worry about them carrying off children and household pets. Such an animal would be very difficult to miss over a long period of time, just by virtue of the fact that it's huge and it flies. Furthermore, birds leave evidence of their presence. They drop feathers constantly, and usually molt at least once a year. A single flight feather from a 14' raptor would be easily distinguishable from an ordinary bird's feathers, and yet nobody's ever found that three foot long feather.

And as an aside, if you're really so concerned about reducing the amount of pollutants America dumps into the atmosphere, you'll write your representatives in support of developing modern nuclear plants. Nuclear is the only technology we have that can come close to meeting our energy requirements, and with modern technology (which the rest of the developed world has, but the United States does not), the amount of waste produced by all the energy you consume in your entire life wouldn't fill a thimble, and wouldn't remain hazardous for more than 40 years or so. The coal plants on which we largely rely for our energy at present spew about 2 tons of radioactive materials into the atmosphere per annum, more than all the nuclear plants in this nation have ever produced as waste. Anti-nuclear scaremongering has FORCED the United States into the environmentally irresponsible position we are in today. Clean-air advocates keep blaming cars, but cars are nothing compared to what is produced by power plants, and even if you switch to an electric or hydrogen fuel cell car, the energy that powers the car or produces the hydrogen probably came from a heavily polluting power plant.

Oh, and despite the lessons you seem to have learned from 1950's sci fi movies, pollution and radioactivity cause animals to die not to change into giant animals.

mymemory
Oct 21, 2002, 07:06 PM
My girldfriend said the same when she sow me naked the first time;

Oh my good!! what a monster!!! would that fit inside of me?

SilvorX
Oct 21, 2002, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit



Last time I checked Canada had a serious problem with dumping hazardous waste. Especially with mining operations. One of the most interesting cases is case of a mining operation dumping some sort of heavy metal I don't remember exactly what right in to a local lake. The interesting part is at first it nearly killed off all the wildlife but has since turned into the most wildlife abundant habitat supposedly in all of Canada. This is somewhere in the central provinces again I don't remember exactly where.


I personally believe that it's likely to be either a new undiscovered species (not that unlikely) or simply a case of people overstating the real size of the bird.
the canadian government is trying to force the mining companies to stop but then the companies would move to other countries to mine (where theres very minimal environmental laws)
so canada will lose billions of dollars....theres not that big of a problem in most of canada...cept at tar ponds n such....
the place where the wildlife was basically going dead was at sudbury ontario, home of the world's largest nickel mine, basically all the trees/plants and animals are dying cuz of the pollution caused by the smoke stacks...some of the worst pollution from just that mine alone in all of north america...but theyre starting to clean up the air and water, it basically looked like a whole different planet back 10 years ago cuz it was so polluted...

LimeiBook86
Oct 21, 2002, 10:16 PM
Originally posted by mymemory
My girldfriend said the same when she sow me naked the first time;

Oh my good!! what a monster!!! would that fit inside of me?
!?!?!?!?!?!?
:eek: :rolleyes: :confused:
WHOA-HO! ;)

MacBandit
Oct 22, 2002, 01:24 AM
Originally posted by Gelfin
In fact, if such birds existed, we'd probably have to worry about them carrying off children and household pets. Such an animal would be very difficult to miss over a long period of time, just by virtue of the fact that it's huge and it flies. Furthermore, birds leave evidence of their presence. They drop feathers constantly, and usually molt at least once a year. A single flight feather from a 14' raptor would be easily distinguishable from an ordinary bird's feathers, and yet nobody's ever found that three foot long feather.

And as an aside, if you're really so concerned about reducing the amount of pollutants America dumps into the atmosphere, you'll write your representatives in support of developing modern nuclear plants. Nuclear is the only technology we have that can come close to meeting our energy requirements, and with modern technology (which the rest of the developed world has, but the United States does not), the amount of waste produced by all the energy you consume in your entire life wouldn't fill a thimble, and wouldn't remain hazardous for more than 40 years or so. The coal plants on which we largely rely for our energy at present spew about 2 tons of radioactive materials into the atmosphere per annum, more than all the nuclear plants in this nation have ever produced as waste. Anti-nuclear scaremongering has FORCED the United States into the environmentally irresponsible position we are in today. Clean-air advocates keep blaming cars, but cars are nothing compared to what is produced by power plants, and even if you switch to an electric or hydrogen fuel cell car, the energy that powers the car or produces the hydrogen probably came from a heavily polluting power plant.


My parents currently have problems with Golden Eagles and Barn Owls attacking there goats and dogs. Large birds preying on infants are also not unheard of. I agree though that a bird of this size would likely be unafraid of humans and would probably not have hid or have been able to hide for this amount of time.

I also agree that Nuclear is a very viable alternative fuel source if used properly. The military nuclear power plants have been very good for years. The biggest problem with our current power plant stategy is there is no plan for alternative reactors that recycle the waste from other reactors. Also every reactor built by public works in the US is different so no two share the same parts. This being a big mistake in an emergency. All military reactors built for some time now have been based on a very similar design whether it be in a Submarine or on land they share interchangeable parts.

Another option is truly solar. Popular Mechanics printed a study of the viability of Solar a year or two ago and in it said the study found that an area in northern Arizona with a solar array 50 miles by 50 miles could power the entire United States with surplus. Also solar panels are extremely low maintenance with less then 1 tenth of 1 percent failure in 30years.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and until recently most of our power came from Hydroelectric or Wind. This worked very well for us until California due to deregulation and bankruptcy of it's power system could no longer sustain themselves. We were forced by the government to sell our cheap power to California for nickels on the dollar as compared to the going rate in Clifornia. This in turn caused a shortage here forcing us to by very expensice power from Montana. All in all we got bent over and screwed minus the lubricant.

Sorry if this was off topic but this thread has made a few comments on pollution and power so I'm just adding my 2 cents.

Gelfin
Oct 22, 2002, 01:28 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit
The biggest problem with our current power plant stategy is there is no plan for alternative reactors that recycle the waste from other reactors.

Because that technology was developed in more recent decades. There has not been a public nuclear power plant constructed in the U.S. since the 60s, if I recall correctly. We do not have a nuclear power strategy. Paranoiacs have successfully prevented it in this country.

Another option is truly solar. Popular Mechanics printed a study of the viability of Solar a year or two ago and in it said the study found that an area in northern Arizona with a solar array 50 miles by 50 miles could power the entire United States with surplus. Also solar panels are extremely low maintenance with less then 1 tenth of 1 percent failure in 30years.

Popular Mechanics has an unfortunate habit of publishing such things from a tech-only standpoint. And incidentally, I've been reading PM and Popular Science on and off since I was a kid, and they've ALWAYS published things like that. The problem is that the cost of building and maintaining a 2500 square mile array, even at a low failure rate, is astronomical. The cost per megawatt would be far more than anyone in this country would be willing to pay.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and until recently most of our power came from Hydroelectric or Wind. This worked very well for us until California due to deregulation and bankruptcy of it's power system could no longer sustain themselves. We were forced by the government to sell our cheap power to California for nickels on the dollar as compared to the going rate in Clifornia. This in turn caused a shortage here forcing us to by very expensice power from Montana. All in all we got bent over and screwed minus the lubricant.

We all got screwed in that situation, and I'm no fan of California's energy policies either. Part of that is that California is a caricature of the far-left environmental frauds (by which I mean they are grounded in politics rather than science) attacking the country in general. Until the crisis hit, spurious litigation had managed to prevent ANY new power plants from being constructed in California, so we had been buying that expensive (price-gouging) out-of-state power for years. We have a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that is supposed to prevent situations like this, if only it weren't staffed by people who came right out of the same companies that were doing the price gouging.

Good for Oregon for using renewable resources, but overall wind power is like solar. It's not very efficient, depends on a natural resource whose availability is highly variable, and requires a very large amount of cleared land which cannot be used for other purposes. Hydroelectric power is quite viable, and has been in use across the country for scores of years, but you should know that the frauds in Oregon want to take away your hydroelectric power as well under the blanket assertion that dams harm the environment. When you look into their political positions, what you'll find is the rock-solid belief that anything touched by evil, evil humans is hopelessly corrupted, and that's really all the "environmental impact study" they need to start tossing around pretentious screeds, which the news media parrot as if it's the gospel truth.

That's why I think the most important thing to get us back on a rational track is to stop letting public discourse be hijacked by cynical corporate lawyers posing as pretentious eco-hippies. Law firms have gained control of many of the top environmental organizations in the US, because environmental litigation is easy, can be argued from a position of touchy-feeliness rather than good science, and brings in big money courtesy of public donations to nonprofit organizations. The Sierra Club is the biggest example. Sad to say, I'm a former member who can't support them anymore because I'm disgusted with what the organization has become. So, to deviate from the topic a little more, before you give a dollar to an environmental nonprofit, do your homework. Make sure that dollar is going towards planting a tree rather than towards some lawyer's morning nonfat half-decaf venti double-mocha latte.

(Apparently I'm going for the title King of Off-Topic :rolleyes: )

MacBandit
Oct 22, 2002, 05:04 PM
Originally posted by Gelfin

Good for Oregon for using renewable resources, but overall wind power is like solar. It's not very efficient, depends on a natural resource whose availability is highly variable, and requires a very large amount of cleared land which cannot be used for other purposes. Hydroelectric power is quite viable, and has been in use across the country for scores of years, but you should know that the frauds in Oregon want to take away your hydroelectric power as well under the blanket assertion that dams harm the environment. When you look into their political positions, what you'll find is the rock-solid belief that anything touched by evil, evil humans is hopelessly corrupted, and that's really all the "environmental impact study" they need to start tossing around pretentious screeds, which the news media parrot as if it's the gospel truth.

(Apparently I'm going for the title King of Off-Topic :rolleyes: )

I do understand about Popular Mechanics that's why I was careful to make it known that that is where I heard of it.

The local econuts that have been trying to tear down the dams to save the Salmon got a small wake up call this year in the form of the biggest Salmon run in 30 years. This is even with the terrible dams. I also know why California doesn't have enough power. I mean just watch the the econuts. Shutdown Nuclear, Shutdown Hydroelectric, etc. then they scream when they can't get latte or frappucino because there is no power.


Okay enough off topic. This thread may now resume it normal broadcast day.