Local Birds Used to Get Drunk And Slam Into Windows, Study Says
Between 2005 and 2007, Angelenos noticed that almost entire flocks of cedar waxwings were slamming into their windows and fences in broad daylight.
Residents sent them off to a lab to figure out why the heck the birds were dying en masse, and now a Journal of Ornithology study (via a New Scientist article) explains what happened. Scientists found out that not unlike Jenna Jameson, sometimes cedar waxwings overdo it and end up slamming into something that they didn't mean to.
Cedar waxwings, in case you didn't know already, eat mostly fruit. But when that fruit is overripe or a bird stores it for too long in its esophagus, the sugar converts into ethanol—and that can make the birds tipsy. These cedar waxwings can handle some alcohol but not too much. The birds that slammed into our windows a fence a few years ago had been perfectly fine and healthy until they gorged on the berries from a Brazilian pepper tree. They died from ruptured livers or from slamming into something they didn't mean to, the New Scientist reports.
(h/t to LAist readers who tip us off when Los Angeles is making news—even in scientific periodicals.)