"A flamingo falls on them from above"
March 7, 2011 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Frozen Flamingos falling down in Siberia.

Original story from Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia (pg.381-82)
posted by stbalbach (9 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I so wanted this to be the title for a newly discovered Kurt Vonnegot novel.
posted by Fizz at 8:41 AM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

I just finished Travels In Siberia last night. Really enjoyable book, and the flamingo story was a neat little mystery.
posted by statolith at 8:58 AM on March 7, 2011

I so wanted this to be the title for a newly discovered Kurt Vonnegot novel.

He'd title it "Frozen Flamingoes Falling From Siberian Skies" and it would be about a horse who jumped over a fence, and by allegory, WWII.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:59 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I heard a report about this on NPR this morning. Very interesting! The first bird they found was taken into a home and nursed back to health. It apparently bit the family dog.
posted by DizzyLeaf at 9:41 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I heard the NPR piece this morning. I was fascinated by the discussion they had with anornithologist who proposed a theory why this may be happening (I'm assuming the linked article also mentions this, but the link gave my computer indigestion):

There's apparently some kind of either mental illness or bird-brain-wiring-screwup that causes them to flip cardinal directions. For instance, the bird will intend to fly 100 miles south, but will then get north and south confused -- and end up flying 100 miles north. Also, there's a spot in Iraq where these flamingos spend their winters, and there's a town equidistant from that spot in Iraq and this spot in Siberia where the flamingos spend their summers. So what may be happening, she suggested, is that this was a case where the bird was taking off for its winter in Iraq, but getting confused and flying the right number of days but in the wrong direction -- and ending up in Siberia.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:04 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Now if it were pink elephants, it might make more sense, so to speak.
posted by infini at 10:49 AM on March 7, 2011

I was just thinking yesterday that I need to read Frazier's book, after reading his Siberia stories in The New Yorker (I don't know if they were actual excerpts), and now this morning's NPR piece. Sold!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:42 PM on March 7, 2011

These flamingos were damned lucky to run into friendly Siberian humans and not less friendly humans, other predators, or just miles of empty ice and snow. I wonder how many meet that fate every year.
posted by Xezlec at 11:20 AM on March 8, 2011

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