What is the Thunderbird?
The legend of the Thunderbird has roots in the history of North America—going back all the way to before external influences touched the continent—this enormous bird of prey was noted in folktales to be seen most often during the spring and summer seasons and in many instances its appearance would forecast a destructive storm coming to the area. Despite bringing life-giving water to the area, the omen of the Thunderbird always meant death and destruction to the people of the land.
Descriptions of this unbelievable black bird report that it has a wing-span between 10-20 feet, with some people comparing it to the size of a small airplane. The only comparable bird, scientifically speaking, would be the Pelagornis sandersi a species which hasn’t existed in over 24 million years. Many also lump the Thunderbird in with a similar cryptid who has been sighted in the Midwest, but it bears more of a resemblance to the extinct Pteranodon as opposed to a feathered bird. Regardless, simply the size of this aerial threat is enough to cause panic in parents of small children, as these creatures have been found attempting to snatch children off of the ground while playing outside.
While this creature is not a new avian phenomenon, the Thunderbird has had reported sightings in Juneau, Alaska as recently as the early parts of 2018—and the late Mark A. Hall even wrote an entire book dedicated to the topic. There are many writers out there with an opinion on the topic, some suggesting that it shouldn’t be categorized as a cryptid at all, considering the basis in historical science of birds like these existing once upon a time. It can difficult to get behind, without physical evidence that can be studied in a lab, but this is one cryptid that doesn’t necessarily require a flight of fancy to get people wondering whether or not it truly exists in our modern world.
In the end, reports of this child-snatching terror in the skies are not only an isolated incident in Alaska. Destination Truth even had an episode where they featured the search for the mysterious Thunderbird and while most of their episodes are a little lackluster when it comes to evidential support, I think it’s interesting that the legend of it warranted their time and efforts to try to capture it on film. So what do you think, have you ever seen a Thunderbird?
Author. Artist. A little bit Alaskan. Mary lives with her dog in a rural cabin outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They explore the bounty of the Alaskan wilderness during the summer and cozy up in their log cabin during the winter.