Weird But True

Drunk vultures found ‘actively dying’ until wildlife refuge helped ‘detox’ them

WATERTOWN, Conn. – Treating drunk vultures can be challenging, as evidenced by an intoxicating discovery from a Connecticut wildlife refuge.

A pair of energetic black vultures celebrated a day early for the solar eclipse on April 8 in Watertown by dumpster diving. They eventually stumbled upon something sufficiently fermented to cause serious inebriation. 

“They were literally drunk. Unable to balance, stand, kept passing out or in our eyes, actively dying,” said Christine Cummings, director of A Place Called Hope (APCH), a wildlife rehabilitation center that took in the birds of prey. 

After many tests on the vultures, it was determined they were “too drunk to fly,” Cummings said.

Animal caregivers said the birds only needed fluids and were tucked in for the night. They also required a hearty breakfast the following morning.

Animal rescuers caring for two black vultures in rough condition in Connecticut
The birds were physically unstable, but they were not harmed in any way.

“Watertown Animal Control and all of us at APCH suspected the worst,” Cummings said. “We were all very confused until the details of their story fell into place, which eventually confirmed our suspicions after ruling everything else out.”

Rescue workers assisting two black vultures in rough condition in a box
The vultures were returned to the wild. after being treated by animal control. A Place Called Hope / Facebook

The vultures returned to the wild on April 9 before their center could be labeled a “detox” facility, Cummings joked.

“They went home, and they immediately joined up with their colony,” she added.

Wildlife officials reminded people that cocktail fruit can intoxicate wildlife if it ends up in an opened dumpster. 

“Birds don’t let other birds fly drunk,” Cummings said. “This dynamic duo had each other’s backs, but I don’t know if any lessons were learned on their end.”