Third Oz Blue Bird

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 9th, 2009

Breaking news from Chris at Where Light Meets Dark alerts us to another blue bird in Australia.

This time the blue bird is an Australian white ibis, which is ordinarily white. In this case, in addition to the photographs, a blue feather has been recovered.

The other two types of blue birds were a little corellas and one or more house sparrows.

All of these have turned up blue in and around Sydney between June 2008 and June 2009.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

13 Responses to “Third Oz Blue Bird”

  1. Alton Higgins responds:

    My best guess is that the birds were stained after being exposed to pond dye. Around here it’s not unusual to see fountains and ponds dyed blue to enhance appearance or reduce algal growth.

    One manufacturer of such products states, “When applied at the recommended rates, Blue Lagoon will not stain birds or fish.”

    This leads me to suspect that staining is a possibility when the product is applied at higher than recommended rates.

  2. JMonkey responds:

    I think some sicko is dying birds. Just kidding, but seriously it could happen. I have actually seen someone tatoo a fish, so this wouldn’t be the worst thing I have ever seen.

  3. korollocke responds:

    This doesn”t really strike me as all that unusual. Now say something like a blue kangaroo, that would be something!

  4. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Hi korollocke,

    well it *is* unusual. The question is working out what’s causing it. It could be some exciting new discovery, or it could be something mundane. Either way it’s still a mystery at present.

    Hi Alton,

    that seems like the most plausible explanation I’ve read to date. Others have pointed out that the birds are probably dyed, but you’ve given a great example of how this might occur across 3 different species over 12 months.

    I do know that fountains in the inner city have had coloured dyes in them at various times. The good news is that we have now located 1 feather – from the ibis. The question is whether anyone with qualification would be prepared to look at it. I’m sure staff at the Australian Museum would at least provide an opinion.

    What we need is for someone to be able to say “yes – this feather has definitely been stained externally. It is not caused by the expression of some dye which has been ingested, nor of a genetic mutation. It is caused by pigment, and not by feather structure as is the case in all known naturally occuring cases of blue feathers.”

    Will keep you posted if the mystery gets unravelled.


  5. Alton Higgins responds:

    Hey Chris,

    Good to hear from you. I would think that a chemist could use some kind of solvent to determine if the feather has been exposed to blue dye.

    Good luck with your investigation.

  6. planettom responds:

    I agree with the others and believe the birds are being exposed to some sort of dye.

  7. alcalde responds:

    I disagree with the consensus and also with the idea that this is something unusual. This is a quite common occurrence when a bird’s local food source is lacking and instead it turns to a steady diet of Smurfs.

  8. m responds:

    Hi Chris,
    Can 1080 have this effect?

  9. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    Alcalde – Smurfs? That’s probably the funniest suggestion I’ve heard yet. 😀

    Anyway, hopefully someone will check to see why the feather is blue, and we can write this one off as… well, whatever’s really going on here.

  10. Munnin responds:

    Very interesting indeed. Some external effect like dye seems likeliest to me also, due to this similar effect exhibited in the plumage of a variety of species. I doubt that something like a food source will prove to be the culprit, considering the significant differences in diet and habitat between such species as the white ibis and the house sparrow.

  11. Squiver responds:

    I have a few problems with the theory that these animals are being dyed.

    1) Some of these animals (note the second bird) do not spend any amount of time completely submerged in water, therefore it would be difficult for the animal to recieve a full coat of dye from the affected water.
    2) One would assume that if the animals were dyed, it would be a solid, unvarying shade of blue. However, the coloration is darkest and most prevalent on the areas of the body that would, in their natural hues, be the darker areas of the animal.

    Ergo, my best hypothesis is that the animals have been eating some variety of very blue food that has been introduced into their niche. While I’ll admit that I’m not an Ibis expert, it is well known that flamingos are pink because of their diet of pink food, not their genetic condition, and a Scarlet Ibis, native to the same area as the flamingo, is the same shade of pink as a flamingo. So I will make the assumption that the Ibis is affected by food coloration the same way a flamingo is, and, by extension, the rest of these birds.

  12. Criptidkid56 responds:

    To Squiver, the question is what creature that it eats could turn it blue, i think it will take some more in depth research

  13. maeko responds:

    i believe Higgins is correct. pond dye could be picked up by the birds from standing in the water or taking baths in small pools. notice how the color is concentrated on the feather tips and runs in a general vertical pattern with the grain of the feather. as each wet feather dries the dyed water will concentrate in the vertical direction of least resistance. like clothes drying on the line, the water will concentrate at the tips or in pockets allowing the dye to set at higher concentrations.

    in the ibis, the color is strongest in the part of the wing that would sit in the water while he wades. it would also be the last spot to dry while he stood on the shore.

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