“Big Bird” in Draper, Utah

ropen sightings were near here in Draper, Utah

By the modern-pterosaur author Jonathan D. Whitcomb

On June 26, 2017, my wife and I met with several eyewitnesses in a neighborhood of Draper, Utah, (in the southern part of the Salt Lake Valley) a few miles west of the Wasatch Mountains. Each of the four persons we talked with lived within about 300 yards of each other and a little south of the Swire Coca Cola complex, which is in northwestern Draper. These four wish to be anonymous, at least for now.

The flying creature involved, which may be more than one animal, appears to be an American Hammerhead Ropen. Some of the words that came to the minds of eyewitnesses, after the sightings in this neighborhood, were these:

  • dragon
  • hammer (shape of the head with a crest)
  • big bird

Bioluminescence appears to be involved, as in many ropen sightings worldwide. The June 21st sighting seems to be not an isolated encounter but part of a general flight pattern in Western Draper. Consider some of what each of these four persons told me and my wife.

Eyewitness-A

Between 35 and 55 years old, she is the mother of two children who also have had some kind of encounter with the flying creature at some time within the past few months, either seeing or hearing it. I gave her a copy of my recent nonfiction cryptozoology book, Modern Pterosaurs (about the Civil War photograph of an apparent Pteranodon that was living in the 19th century).

At about 11:00 p.m. on June 21, 2017, she saw the strange thing fly over her house. She was baffled, unable to come up with a sensible-sounding explanation. It reminded her of what her children had seen with her in movies: not something that is supposed to be still alive.

She might have dismissed it as some kind of drone aircraft, except that it was flapping its wings. She was struck by the lack of feathers and lack of hair on the tan-colored creature, which flew about 50 feet above the ground, over her backyard. She later searched online and found what looked very much like her “big bird.”

Perosaur Sketch by Eskin Kuhn
Kuhn saw two pterosaurs in Cuba, in 1971

The above sketch was seen by Eyewitness-A, after her sighting. It’s very much like what she had seen.

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Eyewitness-B

This twelve-year-old boy was on his back in his backyard in western Draper, Utah, on a warm night in mid-June of 2017, when the huge creature flew overhead. He later learned that his uncle, who lives nearby, had also seen the same animal flying over that same neighborhood, earlier in the year.

The boy told me (Jonathan Whitcomb) that the flying creature had a head that reminded him of a hammer. After he drew a sketch, I realized he was referring, at least in part, to the angle of the head crest. This led me to conclude that he had seen an American Hammerhead Ropen, similar to what was seen by Patty Carson in Cuba in 1965 and probably by Eskin Kuhn (also in Cuba) in 1971.

Eyewitness-C

This man lives in the same neighborhood as the first two eyewitnesses mentioned above (A and B). It flew over his backyard three times in one night, early in 2017, appearing to be searching for something. I believe it was hunting, for many family pets are kept in backyards in this neighborhood.

He described a glowing outline of the animal, suggesting to me that the flying creature was bioluminescent. It was flying too high to have been lit up from ground lighting.

Hearing a Screech

I talked with a teenage girl who also lives in this neighborhood. She heard what she believes were the sounds of a cat being attacked in the large yard next to her backyard. But the cat cry was quickly cut short as the girl heard a terrifying screech, a sound she compared with the screech of a velociraptor from a movie. She was sure that the sound was not from a raccoon. She also compared it with a girl screaming very loudly.

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Copyright 2017 Jonathan Whitcomb (“Big Bird in Draper, Utah”)

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Big bird-like animal in Hawaii

I am glad to find this website that shows others have seen something similar to what we saw– we thought we saw a pterodactyl on the Big Island of Hawaii!

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Ropen critic and the Ptp photograph

One skeptic, writing a very long online article, mentions what I have written about related words in some of the many village languages in Papua New Guinea. He says that “ropen” means bird in one language but fruit bat in another. He then writes, “Well, there you have it,” as if it supports his declaration that a significant number of sightings of apparent pterosaurs in that area of the world could be from misidentified birds or bats. But he misses the point . . .

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Objectivity and bias with the Civil War pterosaur photograph

. . . he [the critic] seems to have fallen into a severe combination of bias issues including both confirmation bias and belief perseverance, regarding his ideas about the old photo that is now known as “Ptp.”

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Civil War Soldiers and a Monster Pterodactyl

Before giving a brief history of our investigations of this old photograph, I present a recent discovery related to the source of what we now call “Ptp,” what some people would call the “Civil War” Pteranodon photo.

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Apparent Civil War era photograph

In January of 2017, the physicist Cliff Paiva and I agreed that the old photograph now called Ptp has a genuine image of a modern pterosaur. Since January, we have found additional evidence for its authenticity, which is what should be expected for something that is genuine rather than a hoax.

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Woodpeckers, Flintstones, and Long-Tailed Pterosaurs

Perosaur Sketch by Eskin Kuhn

Reply to a Post by Dale A. Drinnon: “Cuban Pterosaurs?”

How far some skeptics will go to find a non-pterosaur explanation for pterosaur sightings! Featherless long-tailed flying creatures with long bony head crests are not misidentifications of woodpeckers, but there is more. Dale Drinnon has made some apparently accurate generalizations about the two main groups of those featherless pterosaurs; unfortunately he looked no deeper. It’s true that many fossils can be divided into “basal” and Pterodactyloid types:

  1. long-tailed ones without a head crest
  2. short-tailed ones with a head crest

But that is a generalization, and real progress in science often requires careful examination of exceptions. In this case, there is a long-tailed pterosaur, known from fossils, that did indeed have a head crest, contrary to the general assumption proclaimed as if universal by Mr. Drinnon.

Even more to the point, that particular species was reported still living just a few centuries ago: non-extinct. John Goertzen wrote a paper for the 1998 International Conference on Creation, held in Geneva, Pennsylvania. The name of that scientific paper is “The Rhamphorhynchoid Pterosaur Scaphognathus crassirostris: A ‘Living Fossil’ Until the 17th Century.”

I will not quote from it here, but the point is simple: One species, known from fossils, had both a long tail and a head crest, and if one exception existed, one long-tailed pterosaur with a head crest, living a few centuries ago in the Eastern Hemisphere, why should we be shocked at another exception, a long-tailed “pterodactyl” with a head crest, living a few decades ago in Cuba?

At least one investigator seems to have found significant evidence that the Scaphognathus crassirostris lived up until the 1600’s in and around the Mediterranean. Many eyewitness have seen long-tailed pterosaurs with head crests in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, in various parts of the world; I’ve interviewed many of them myself. Eyewitnesses continue to accumulate, so I suggest that Mr. Drinnon get used to this concept.

Flintstones Cartoons in Detail

Before getting into the woodpecker interpretation of pterosaur sightings in Cuba, consider what Drinnon has declared in his post “Cuban Pterosaurs.”

The mixed-trait Pterosaurs do not exist in Paleontology but they DO occur commonly in popular cartoons such as The Flintstones in the 1960s.

We have already seen that some pterosaurs with what Drinnon calls “mixed-trait” characteristics do indeed exist in paleontology. Now let’s look at the Flintstones, with an eye for any appearance of a pterosaur with that combination of long tail and head crest.

The standard opening of at least some of those cartoons includes a couple of dinosaurs but no pterosaurs.

Season #1, episode #18 has a large bird with feathers, nothing suggesting a pterosaur.

“A Man Called Flintstone,” Part One, at 01:31 (one minute and thirty-one seconds from the beginning), has a pterosaur in the mid-ground WITH NO TAIL. At 1:37, that same flying creature appears much clearer because it’s much closer, filling most of the vertical and about half of the horizontal portion of the screen, again with NO TAIL. I scanned the fifteen minutes of Part One, without seeing any other pterosaur.

I then looked at Season #3, episode #14 (“Dial ‘S’ For Suspicion,” Part 1). At 5:20 a bird with feathers has a beak that is used as a letter opener; the bird has no head crest and no tail and nothing that would suggest it is anything other than a bird with feathers. At 8:00, Fred uses the beak of a small bird as a writing tool; that bird has a small head crest that appears like it is feathered; the tail also appears like the tail of feathered birds, in fact at 8:11 the tail is seen more clearly and it is definitely a feathered bird tail, nothing like any tail of any pterosaur. At 10:26, a writing-tool bird appears with even more obvious feathers on both head and tail, even more obviously a bird. At 11:39 that same feathered bird appears, with that same appearance.

Now consider an episode that was aired on October 1, 1961, “The Rock Quarry Story.” I saw nothing in the first ten minutes of that episode that had any flying creature of any kind.

What about season #3, episode #6, “Here’s Snow in Your Eyes,” Part One? I also did a quick scan of that episode (on Youtube, like the others). I saw no flying creature at all.

In no Flintstones cartoon did I see anything remotely like what the skeptic declares exists. I have no desire to continue scanning through those old animations, but I see another problem with the Flintstones conjecture.

Another Flintstones-Cartoon Problem

Mr. Drinnon has brought up those cartoons as one possible source of the idea of long-tailed pterosaurs with head crests, and he said, about the eyewitness reports, “they are reporting accurate portrayals of fantasies.” I suggest Mr. Drinnon has allowed his own imagination to run away with his reasoning, concerning the Flintstones cartoons.

Even if those characteristics of a “mixed-trait” pterosaur were portrayed commonly in those cartoons, that would not likely cause two separate eyewitnesses to report those details in large flying creatures at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 1965 and in 1971; Drinnon fails to provide any clear reason why that strange mental image-transport would happen.

Think about this: Have you ever read about or heard about anything in a Flintstones cartoon coming up in anything like a hallucination or confirmed misidentification, with two eyewitnesses of something similar that was seen in the same location?

To be more precise, have you ever seen anything in your neighborhood park that looked like something from a Flintstones cartoon? Did that encounter cause you to report that thing as if it were real? Did you later learn that somebody else had seen that same Flintstones image in that same park and also reported it as a real object? How ridiculous! Cartoons do not cause two eyewitnesses to see something that appears very similar but that is far different from what was actually there.

I find it astonishing that somebody would suggest such an idea while declaring that other persons, namely eyewitnesses, have been involved in a fantasy. I declare that the Flintstones conjecture is a fantasy.

Knocking on Wood for Woodpeckers

Drinnon pins far too much weight onto the wings of a bird. His post includes a link to the Wikipedia page “Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker,” where it says that this bird is (or was, if extinct) “smaller” than the American Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Now let’s leave Wikipedia and go back to Drinnon’s post.

Drinnon appears to try to connect a “Giant Hornbill” with a ropen with a “20 foot wingspan.” In the very next sentence, he refers to a “known giant bird,” and in the sentence after that, he says that bird is the “Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker.” But immediately after that sentence we see that link to Wikipedia, that page that tells us that the Cuban variety (or species) is slightly smaller than the American woodpecker.

I don’t know where he gets the wingspan of “20 foot” for a “ropen.” If he refers to the two “pterodactyls” observed by Eskin Kuhn in 1971, that wingspan appears too large; if he refers to the larger ropens reported in Papua New Guinea, that wingspan appears too small. Drinnon gives no explanation for why he mentioned the number twenty.

But regardless of the existence or non-existence of a giant Hornbill bird with a wingspan of twenty feet, that size has no relevance to Ivory-billed woodpeckers, Cuban or American, presently extinct or not.

Pterosaur Eyewitness Eskin Kuhn

For eastern Cuba, in and around Guantanamo Bay at least, we have two shotguns for shooting down woodpeckers. The first eyewitness who came forward with a report of a living “pterodactyl” in eastern Cuba was U.S. Marine Eskin C. Kuhn. Here is the sketch that he drew within minutes of his encounter with two huge flying creatures:

Perosaur Sketch by Eskin Kuhn
Kuhn saw two pterosaurs in Cuba, in 1971

I know that a camera in his hands could have provided a more objective image of those two flying creatures observed by that U.S. Marine in 1971. But Mr. Kuhn put his artistic talents to good use, and it seems very unlikely to me that he would have been greatly mistaken in many ways. But he was not alone. Another shotgun obliterates the woodpecker conjecture.

Pterosaur Eyewitness Patty Carson

Eskin Kuhn reported his sighting of two “pterodactyls” decades ago, with his sketch. Patty Carson saw what appears to have been the same species of flying creature, about six years earlier. She immediately reported the encounter to her father on the base of Guantanamo Bay, but none of the adults believed her, so she stopped telling people about it.

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Gitmo Pterosaur of Guantanamo Bay Cuba, sighting in 1965

Patty Carson saw this creature in the same area of Cuba, around 1965

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Patty Carson saw one “dinosaur,” compared with the two “pterodactyls” seen by Eskin Kuhn, and she was a child at the time, walking home with her younger brother, but Kuhn was an adult. But notwithstanding differences in descriptions, significant resemblances in the two reports are striking.

Carson sent me an email in April of 2011, soon after she had googled “Pterodactyl in Cuba” and found Kuhn’s sighting report. We had extensive email interview sessions through mid-2011, and she drew a sketch of the creature she had seen. Fortunately she too is a talented artist.

One critical point about Patty’s report is this: She is sure of the many small teeth in the mouth of the flying creature. And woodpeckers, no matter how large, and whether extinct or not, have no teeth.

Misidentification Possibility, in Conclusion

We always need to be alert to the possibility of a misidentification when we first encounter a sighting report of an apparent pterosaur. But this two-sighting case at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the mid-twentieth century, appears unlikely to ever be seriously challenged with any misidentification conjecture, be it a giant woodpecker or any other bird, with teeth or without. This two-sighting case for living pterosaurs in eastern Cuba is just too tight for a woodpecker to squeeze into, notwithstanding how strange some persons may think it is to have a long-tailed head-crested pterosaur living in modern times.

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Live Pterosaurs Versus Extinct Woodpeckers

According to Huntington, eyewitness accounts of featherless flying creatures with head crests and long tails, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are not from the imaginations of persons who had watched too many Flintstones cartoons. He suggests that the most modern insights into pterosaur fossils allow for the possibility that a large long-tailed pterosaur species with a head crest might very well have lived, and might still be living.

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California Ropens – Are They Woodpeckers?

I am actually grateful that one skeptic brought up a woodpecker interpretation for sightings of apparent pterosaurs on the west coast of the United States . . . sort of. It kicked me off my comfortable couch, to search for more information about woodpeckers and other birds, and to learn about pterosaurs that perch and birds that do not perch.

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Pterosaurs not Extinct

Live “pterodactyls?” In the United States? Many scientists have long assumed all pterosaurs died millions of years ago. Now take a whirlwind tour of many years of investigations in cryptozoology, and prepare for a shock: At least two species of pterosaurs have survived, uncommon, not so much rare as widely, thinly distributed.

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California Ropens – Are They Woodpeckers?

color illustration of three Imperial Woodpeckers in a forest

I am actually grateful that one skeptic brought up a woodpecker interpretation for sightings of apparent pterosaurs on the west coast of the United States . . . sort of. It kicked me off my comfortable couch, to search for more information about woodpeckers and other birds, and to learn about pterosaurs that perch and birds that do not perch. Thank you for that.

But the problems with that misidentified-bird conjecture are enormous. In fact, a careful examination of details is so damaging to the woodpecker interpretation that I will not even mention that skeptic’s name in this post; I have no desire to appear to insult any person.

So many skeptics have allowed themselves to be blinded! When referring to the sighting of an apparent pterosaur southeast of Griffith Park (May 13, 2013), one skeptic said, “This sounds like possibly another series of sightings of an outsized woodpecker similar to the Ivory-billed woodpecker.” But that remark appears to be a hasty response, without reference to the critical sighting of three “dragons” just ten weeks earlier and just a mile and a half to the north.

Since the skeptic said “series of sightings,” we will take this encounter in context, examining details in other sighting reports in California. But first consider this May 13th encounter and see if a woodpecker is responsible.

Pterosaur Sighting by Devin Rhodriquez, May 13, 2013

Compare these images chosen by Devin Rhodriquez to a large sketch of the Imperial Woodpecker wing shown further below:

Devin Rhodriquez chose these six images as similar to the "pterosaur" she observed flying just east of Griffith Park, Los Angeles, on May 13, 2013

The above six silhouettes were chosen from about three dozen images of birds, bats, and pterosaurs. That is the same survey page that was used by Garth Guessman and David Woetzel, in their Umboi Island ropen expedition in 2004 (a few weeks after my own expedition there). Please take note: In that expedition, only two natives, of those natives on Umboi Island who had been given the survey, had a clear view of the shape of the ropen: Jonathan Ragu and Jonah Jim. Both of them chose #13, the Sordes pilosus, a long-tailed pterosaur.

This #13 is one of the images chosen by the American eyewitness Devin Rhodriquez (May 13, 2013, sighting near Griffith Park). Each of these six silhouettes is of a pterosaur; no bird image was chosen by this eyewitness.

Now let’s compare this encounter with the one ten weeks earlier, only about 1.5 miles to the north, also near Griffith Park. By the way, I choose these reports to be considered together because both eyewitnesses contacted me by email within weeks of each other and the locations were so close.

March 3, 2013, Pterosaur Sighting

Two months before Rhodriquez’s sighting of a “pterosaur,” another lady was driving on the I-5 Freeway in Los Angeles, also in a northbound lane. She observed three “dragons” gliding or soaring over that freeway, just east of Griffith Park and also near the Los Angeles River. The ratio of  head, body, and tail length “was certainly not that of a bird. Their wings were long, angular and pointed and their tails had triangular points.”

That eyewitness was given the same survey form, and she said, “I would say #13 except their heads were bigger.” The Sordes pilosus was one of the six chosen by Rhodriquez and by the two eyewitnesses on Umboi Island. Is it a coincidence that all of those eyewitnesses chose that long-tailed pterosaur as having a similar wing-shape to what they had seen? No. Could everybody be observing woodpeckers that look like long-tailed pterosaurs? No. Where is even one sighting report of an apparent pterosaur that turned out to have been from a woodpecker?

It’s also no coincidence that so many Southern California pterosaur sightings are near storm channels or near the Los Angeles River (which is actually a giant storm channel). The creatures are nocturnal but on occasion a disturbance in daylight will awaken one of them, causing a daylight flight, resulting in a sighting.

Humans see poorly in the dark sky of night, so the many nocturnal flyovers go mostly unseen or unnoticed, especially when the creatures are flying at night through storm channels. And those flying creatures might indeed become extinct if they were foolish enough to avoid those channels where rats and possums and other yummy animals could be easily captured.

The March 3rd sighting, near Griffith Park, was almost at night: 6:10 a.m., but there was plenty of light for the eyewitness to see the strange appearance of three large long-tailed non-woodpeckers gliding over the freeway—without wing flapping.

June 19, 2012, Pterosaur Sighting: Lakewood, California

An earlier sighting in Los Angeles County, northeast of Long Beach—this might be partially what caused the skeptic to mention perching, but he gives few details about what he is referring to regarding perching. I have tied this Lakewood sighting to the two encounters near Griffith Park, so I assume the skeptic took notice of that.

The lady was observing the creature in her backyard as she was standing less than eighteen feet below it, as it perched on a telephone cable over a storm channel. The lady said that the creature “had [a triangle] on his tail, like a dragon.” She thought the tail was at least four feet long, maybe five feet. Keep in mind that the end of that tail was only about eighteen feet from the end of the lady’s nose, before the creature flew away from its perch. That was no woodpecker.

Irving, California, Pterosaur Sighting

Take the above in context with another encounter, this one southeast of Los Angeles County. The eyewitness told me that the creature he saw flying not far above the road on which he was driving was the same length as the width of that road. That means the apparent ropen was thirty feet long, for I later measured the width of that road myself, pacing it off with my own feet. No woodpecker, extinct or still living, ever attained a length of 30 feet, not even in the imagination of a skeptic.

When did the skeptic in question ever mention the estimated sizes of what eyewitnesses have reported to me? I don’t recall reading any of his comments in which he mentioned size, perhaps because of the sighting close to the University of California at Irvine in the summer of 2007. No woodpecker could have been misidentified with a size estimate like that. In addition, the eyewitness described the tail as about half that length, or about 15 feet. That was no woodpecker.

Perching Pterosaurs and Non-Perching Woodpeckers

Immediately after mentioning the woodpecker interpretation of pterosaur sightings in California, the skeptic said, “The creature which is reported as a pterosaur perches upright, which no kind of a pterosaur could do.” Well, that old generalization no longer applies, for we now know that one type of pterosaur could indeed perch upright, and that long-tailed variety just happens to be . . . yes, the same general type observed perching upright on a telephone line in Lakewood, California, on June 19, 2012: the long-tailed variety.

I believe woodpeckers are not perching birds, unless I have seriously mistaken what I have been reading lately about birds. I suggest the skeptic has failed to look deeply enough into this subject, but I accept correction if I have misunderstood woodpeckers.

In other words, the kind of bird the skeptic offers to us cannot perch but the Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur observed perching last year in Lakewood is the type of pterosaur that could perch, according to fossils that show the opposing toe-digit on the foot. If that were not damaging enough to the proclamations of that skeptic, the main context of his blog post is regarding a sighting southeast of Griffith Park, on May 13, 2013, in which the creature was gliding or soaring over a freeway, not perching.

Woodpeckers in California

None of the eyewitnesses that I have interviewed, over the past ten years, to the best of my recollection, described the coloring of what they had seen as anything at all similar to the Imperial Woodpecker or the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. It seems to me that the skeptic who has suggested woodpeckers has ignored critical details that eliminate that bird and has distorted, in his own imagination, the head-crest concept.

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sketch of one wing of the Imperial Woodpecker bird

Wing of the Imperial Woodpecker

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color illustration of three Imperial Woodpeckers in a forest

The Imperial Woodpecker

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Photo of Ivory Billed woodpecker by Nathan Dappen

Ivory Billed Woodpecker

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Eskin Kuhn drew this sketch one of the two pterosaurs he saw flying in Cuba

“Pterodactyl” drawn by the eyewitness Eskin C. Kuhn (Gitmo Pterosaur of Cuba)

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Gitmo Pterosaur of Guantanamo Bay Cuba, sighting in 1965

Sketch by the eyewitness Patty Carson (another Gitmo Pterosaur of Cuba)

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Dragons Around Griffith Park in Los Angeles

Both observations involved a lady alone in a vehicle in a northbound lane of the Interstate-5 Freeway between Griffith Park and Glendale. Both eyewitnesses sent me an email soon after a sighting. Both believed no bird misidentification was involved.

Dragon Pterosaurs in Southern California

The eyewitness of the “Griffith Park dragons” first thought she was observing three non-living things flying over her car (she was driving north on the I-5 at about 6:10 a.m. on a Sunday). She assumed it was some kind of stunt, perhaps with kites, for the three “dragons” looked nothing like birds. When she saw the tails move slightly, she realized that they were alive.

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Was it a Giant Prehistoric Bird?

We need to be careful not to jump to conclusions when an eyewitness reports a sighting with one or more of the following words:

  • Giant prehistoric bird
  • Huge bird without feathers
  • Large dinosaur bird
  • Big Thunderbird

If some reports of large flying creatures come from sightings of modern pterosaurs—I proclaim, in a number of blogs and books, that they do—why is that word  used by some eyewitnesses: “bird?” That word comes to mind because birds commonly fly overhead, during the daylight when we notice things in the sky, far more commonly than we notice bats. “Bird” flies out of one’s mouth naturally, for it’s not so shocking to hear. But how unnatural-sounding to tell a friend, “I just saw a giant pterodactyl fly over my backyard!” Your friend might ask what you’ve been putting into your mouth.

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Be Open-Minded with Pterosaur Sighting Reports

When somebody sees a living pterosaur, the eyewitness is almost always totally unprepared. Often people will report to me the shock of an encounter, which can be an extreme cultural shock. Questioning ones own sanity is common. Trying to imagine a trick of the light (or some other misidentification possibility) is also common. In a pterosaur sighting, the person had no desire to see a modern version of what was assumed extinct, almost without exception in Western countries. (In a third-world country, an eyewitness may simply be shocked at being so unlucky: encountering a monster that he already believed in.) Hardly anybody, in any country, ever looks up to the sky hoping to see something that might prove personal insanity.

We need to be careful not to assume that personal beliefs or perspective contributed much to the descriptions that are given to us. I receive sighting reports from around the world; eyewitnesses of differing cultures and beliefs and religions report similar details, often including a long tail with a structure at the tail-end (a “diamond” or something suggesting a Rhamphorhynchoid tail vane). Words may vary but the basic meanings of those words make a pterosaur interpretation obvious.

By the way, most of the sighting reports that I have received over the past few years have been from the United States.

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Examples of Descriptions in Pterosaur Sighting Reports

Received early in 2011:

My friend told me that she was walking with her cousin, when she looked up, she saw a very large “bird” that was circling above them and slowly descending. She turned to her cousin and asked, “Do you see that? Or am I seeing things?” Her cousin responded, “Yea, I see it. What the heck is it?” As it got closer, she could only describe it as a Pterodactyl.

Namibia, Africa, 2011

I saw a large bird gliding, moving its wings very, very slowly, very much as we see raptors or eagles do when they circle in the air scanning the land for prey. I paid attention to the wings as it would allow for identification – but this bird did not have any feathers, at least not any spread primary feathers (as eagles often show). It looked more like a large bat with distinctly brightly coloured (yellow-brown, orange?) protrusions, where birds have carpal joints (like some ‘spur-winged birds’).

Arkansas, 2012

I saw a pre-historic bird here in central Arkansas back this past spring. As I was driving over a small bridge with a creek underneath it flew up from under the bridge beside my truck and flew up above my truck and out and over a field. . . . [It] had no feathers and it was grey skinned with pink undertones.

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What do all three of the above report-excerpts have in common? Each has the word “bird” and each includes either an indication of lack of feathers or the word “pterodactyl.” In other words, eyewitnesses often use the word “bird” in a general sense, not meaning a feathered flying creature.

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Hornbill Birds and a Live Pterosaur

In a recent post, “Ropens, Pterosaurian Sightings And Manta Rays,” a skeptic of the possibility of living pterosaurs gave half a sentence to the subject of Hornbill birds as the cause of sighting reports of live pterosaurs (misidentification conjecture).

Pterosaur Sightings and Photos

Despite the canoe-like wings, photo #3 is the most credible of these three, by far, believe it or not. My intention, however, is not to force this into an all-or-nothing, sure-thing-or-fake, judgment.

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