Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recent Central Illinois Giant Bird Sighting Rings Familiar

Sunday, October 26 was, to say the least, a blustery day here in central Illinois. In these conditions, sometimes you don't know what will be carried in or out by these currents.

On that evening, I was contacted by Tom Sheets, a long time, avid outdoorsman and a gentleman who has worked as a land surveyor for the past forty years. He related the following sighting to me from earlier that day:

Today, October 26, 2008 at about 1:15 p.m., I was sitting in my pickup at the end of my driveway looking Westward, waiting for traffic to clear. I am located south of Lacon, Illinois on State Route 26. I saw two giant birds that were low over the field directly across from me; they appeared into view from behind a set of low outbuildings, probably 10 to 15 feet above the field. They were being pursued by a hawk, probably a red tail hawk or one of that size. These birds had a wing span of at least 10 feet; at first I thought they were cranes of some type. They were at least five times larger than the hawk. They flew toward the river across a green field of winter wheat; and at the end of the field, about a quarter mile wide, they tried to land in a tree and they flapped about and the hawk was attacking them, then they turned and caught the wind, about 30 mile per hour at this time, and soared up into the sky and went directly over my head. I did get a look at one of their under sides which I noted in my mind. He was marked similar to a turkey vulture; which I see on an everyday basis, but much wider front to back. The marking was the typical wedge shaped marking; however there was a band of grey and or white inside the wedge. Later that afternoon I looked in my bird book and note that it is very similar to a California condor. The wind carried them East over the trees and out of sight. Today was a great day for soaring birds. In the morning, there were hundreds of white pelicans in the air and shortly thereafter, we watched three bald eagles soar from a few hundred feet high above us to reach altitudes so high that they were small specks in the sky.


The avid Fortean biology fan will remember that the 1977 Lawndale giant bird was also, after the primary witnesses, the Lowes. did research at the Lincoln, Illinois library, described as looking identical to a California condor in size, patterning and color. It makes one wonder what ornithological and Fortean wonders might be soaring high over Illinois' river flyways.

9 comments:

Yadira said...

In the early 1980s the California condor was reduced to a low of 22 birds. All of those birds were eventually caught up and became part of the California Condor Recovery Program. Those efforts have led to a population that is now at more than 330 birds. Half of those have been released in California, Arizona and Baja California, Mexico. They all have GPS and/or radio telemetry. There are no known condors in Illinois so it would be great to see a picture of these birds. Were any taken? Thank you for this story. Please visit www.cacondorconservation.org to learn more about this species and to see were they are known to reside.

Chrissy said...

Hello. I'm doing some research on Thunderbirds and would love to reach Tom Sheets. Any idea of how I could get a hold of him? Thanks!

Becca Bailey said...

in May 2011 I also saw a giant bird flying over Hudson,Il. It also was a cloudy overcast day. It literally took my breath away. It was completely Black wingspan size of a small plane and the wings were jointed. It was much bigger than a turkey vulture.It look me a lot of research but I am sure it was an Andrean Condor. I just have no explaination why it was in Illinois.Also it continuously flapped it's wings I never saw it just soar. I watched it for about 20 minutes then it just flew south west.

Anonymous said...

In 2007 I saw two giant birds in Illinois. I was doing the "100 Mile Garage Sale" with my mom and my two sisters-in-law. We were somewhere on the highway between Princeton and Peoria when mom and I spotted the birds. They were high in the sky, flying together. We were looking up because we were watching clouds from the backseat of the vehicle, talking about upcoming weather. They were larger than Turkey Vultures or Bald Eagles. We were amazed --Mom and I are bird watchers and often see vultures near where we live, so we were certain these were not vultures. They were SO BIG. To my great regret, I didn't have a camera. Now, I always take a camera with me when I'm going to be on the road.

Anonymous said...

Nov. 4, 2012 Seen one cleary sitting perched on a fence post or tree stump on old Rt. 50 between Breese and Aviston,IL. Weather cloudy and cool with 8 to 10 mile an hr. winds. It cleary looked like an Andean Condor. It was very black with the white fluffy ring of feathers around its neck. I did not notice a crest on the head making me think it was female. It was not a Turkey Vulture. I can not estimate size, it was however bigger than a Red Tailed Hawk.

Anonymous said...

They are turkey vultures I've seen them with 12 foot or better wingspans, and when sitting almost 3 feet high.

PV said...

I also see them very often soaring over Peru, IL, and around the Illinois Valley. Usually 2 or 3 at a time. One windy day 2 were gliding high and low throughout my neighborhood. It was a thrill to watch. They look bigger than a turkey vulture and are all black. I never get a good look at their head, so I'm stumped about what type of bird it could be.

PV said...

For years since about Spring of 2010 I also see them very often soaring over Peru, IL, and around the Illinois Valley. Usually 2 or 3 at a time. I've tried to research what bird it could be. I know some people see turkey vultures in this area. But it doesn't look like what I'm seeing. One windy day 2 were gliding high and low throughout my neighborhood. It was a thrill to watch. They look bigger than a turkey vulture and are all black. I never get a good look at their head, so I'm stumped about what type of bird it could be.

Lsa007 said...

We are in Addison IL and today 9/25/16 my son just saw a huge black bird with a 6 ft wing span come through the driveway and land in the big birch tree he was stunned as he was no more than 15 ft. Away from this thing. Too big to be a hawk was likely a condor. A gal at my vets office lives in Lombard and saw a huge bird like this flying through her yard it was so big she almost had a heart attack. Watch out for your dogs. I won't let my dog in the yard alone now and I take a heavy stick with me when I walk him. Scary😨