DRAPER, Utah — Residents in a Utah town are confused after more than 200 birds fell from the sky Monday.
“It’s one of the rarest things I’ve ever heard of,” Sgt. Chad Carpenter, with the Draper City Police Department, told KSTU.
Resident Lacey Brown said she saw the birds dropping out of the sky as she was driving.
“They were all on the ground right around here and on the roadway,” Brown said. “They were just falling out of the sky like leaves."
But they weren’t leaves. They were hundreds of small birds called starlings.
“You’ve seen that black cloud as it’s flying all over the place. Well, that’s a starling group and they call that flying tandem or murmuring,” Carpenter said.
Experts said it’s a technique they use to stay warm during the winter and to ward off birds of prey.
Witnesses speculated on social media that aliens were to blame, the flock was poisoned, or hit by lightning.
But that wasn't the case.
“No aliens, no cloaking device, no poison,” Carpenter said. "It was just one of those freak things where the birds were just flying along, crashed into the side of a large vehicle and boom."
Whether it be misdirection or weather-related, something caused the lead starling to crash and because the birds were tandem flying, the rest followed.
Brown said she pulled over to help and saw one man shoveling the birds out of the road.
“It was not a sight for the faint of heart,” Brown said.
Draper Animal Services was on scene to clear the birds and collect any that were still alive. Seventeen birds survived and were transferred to a rehabilitation center in the hope that they will recover and be released back into the wild.
While what happened is rare, police said anyone who sees this kind of incident should report it.