Cryptid003 Thunder Bird
Location: Central and North Eastern United States
Type: Super Animal
Evidence: Sightings, photographs, and video footage.
Possible Population size: Unknown, but it's safe to say; if they are real, there are at least two.
Originally thought to have been a Native American legend, but some evidence suggests that gigantic predatory birds may be soaring through the skies of North America. Modern reports of the Thunderbird come from various places in the North America, a large number of these sightings take place in the central states and as far north as Pennsylvania.
The Thunderbird is belived to have a wingspan of fifteen feet (five meters) and a body size of four to six feet (one and a half to two meters). Many sceptics claim that that Thunderbird sightings are nothing more than mistaken identity of various large birds such as the wandering albatross (diomedea exulans, boasting a 12 foot wingspan), The Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) or the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus; with wingspan sizes measuring 10.5 and 10 feet respectively). Despite this, one must take into consideration the fact that there were reports of the Thunderbird having the strength to lift a child off of the ground. Current predatory birds are not equipped with grasping feet that are strong enough to hold such weight; instead they live primarily as carrion eaters and only seldom become predatory, usually only preying on smaller animals.
One of the most controversial eye witness reports of the Thunderbirds ability to lift a human off the ground comes from Lawndale, Illinois. On July 25th, 1977, around 9 pm a group of three boys where playing in a friends backyard when they looked up to see two large birds soaring above. As the birds came closer they became aggressive and attacked the boys, two of which managed to escape, however the third boy, Marlon Lowe, did not. One of the birds clamped onto Marlons shoulder with its claws and proceed to lift the young boy from the ground for an estimated distance of about 30 yards. The young boys cries for help attracted the attention of the near by neighbors who rushed to his aid, combined with their help and the boy beating the bird as hard as he could, Marlon was finally released. Although viewed by some as a tall tail, the description given by witnesses of the attaching birds describe a large black bird, with a white ring around its neck and a wingspan of about 10 feet, traits that match the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) almost exactly.
The evidence thus far for the existence of a large predatory bird in North America is based on historical and modern sightings and legends with no physical evidence, there is however two images of the Thunderbird, or at least a large bird. The first was taken the same year as the attack on Marlon Lowe and in the same state. On July 30, 1977 John Huffer, an ex-marine and photographer, took a 100 foot roll of color film of two large birds taking off from a tree in an inlet of Lake Shelbyville. Thought by many to be a turkey vulture, it remains fairly unknown evidence of a possible mystery animal. To date little, if any, evaluation of the film has been done, the Discovery Channel, in their program Into the Unknown gave the film some mention but dismissed it fairly quickly as a vulture.
The other photographic image of a Thunderbird is more of a mystery, and may not actually exist at all. The image is known as the Thunderbird Photograph and was supposedly taken at the end of the 19th century in Texas. The image is said to depict six western clothed adult men, standing arms length from each other in front of a barn, where a large bird is nailed to the wall. Many have claimed to have seen or held this infamous image, including the late Ivan T. Sanderson who reportedly had acquired a photocopy of the image in 1966, the same year in which Sanderson gave the image, later lost, to a couple of men from Pennsylvania who were searching for the Thunderbird. The image has yet to surface, and may well not exist at all. The image was reported to have been published in 1886 in the Tombstone Arizona Epitaph, however this was somewhat dubiously reported in a 1963 article by Jack Pearl called "The Monster Bird That Carries off Human Beings!" in Saga magazine. Searches of the Tombstone Epitaph have come up empty, aside from an article from April 26, 1890 of a 16 foot bird found in the desert by a couple of ranchers. So the mystery of the "Thunderbird Photo" is no closer to being solved then it was nearly 40 years ago during its first mention.
Regardless of what the Thunderbird might be, something large soars the skies of North America and it is only a matter of time before its true identity is reviled to the world, With misinformation and misidentification abounding, coupled with a lack of support in searching for these birds, it is no wonder that these creatures have evaded discovery like so many others from around the world.
Cryptid Files: [link]