Big Bird Report: 1978, Florida

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 14th, 2011

Eyewitness F. J. Cosentino submitted the following report:

I just watched Monster Quest about giant birds on the History Channel. I feel compelled to make comment about the giant birds. They are real. I saw one myself in 1978 in Florida. As a young engineer working for Rockwell International, I was on a project in Orlando, missed my flight, but was able to get a flight from Miami back home to Dallas. So, I drove from Orlando to Miami on a highway far from the Interstate. In the middle of nowhere about noon, there was a giant in jet black bird in the middle of the highway. I slowed the car as it just stared at me. I stopped and got out of the car in disbelief. It was the most primitive, scary thing that I have ever seen. It was about six feet tall with gigantic muscular talons, jet black wings, black leathery head, hunched shoulders with it wings at its side, and a long rounded beak. It was tearing away at a big raccoon in the middle of the road. It stared at me with red eyes with its red eyes with no fear at all. after about a minute, it flapped its wings and was airborne and came at me. I dove in the car “scared to death.” It’s wings were about 20 feet long. It hovered over the car for a few seconds, then gained altitude and flew South to the trees in the swamps. I told all my friends when I got back to Dallas, but nobody believed me. I am still haunted by this giant black bird and it bright red eyes staring at me directly in my eyes.

Monster Quest shows all of these skeptics who say this was a condor or turkey buzzard. There is no way this was a condor or turkey buzzard. This thing was massive. This giant bird is real…I have seen it myself 35 years ago in 1978. This bird is forever etched in my mind with it scary red eyes staring me down. Again, I saw this episode on television, and feel compelled to make my statement that I saw this giant black bird after 35 years holding in this story. There is nothing else like it, and it still haunts me.

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.

9 Responses to “Big Bird Report: 1978, Florida”

  1. semillama responds:

    Being a birder, I have to say I find “Giant bird” reports some of the least plausible cryptid stories, simply because I know how easy it is to misjudge size and shape of a bird. In addition, Florida is a heavily birded state, due to the fact that many birds can be seen there easily that are hard to see or non-existent elsewhere. Yet no birder has ever reported such a giant bird to my knowledge.

    If this guy is not just making up the entire story, then I would have to guess he misidentified a Glossy Ibis and for some reason inflated the size of the bird in his mind.

  2. sonofthedestroyer responds:

    If you want to accuse the eyewitness of being a liar, be straight to the point.
    Misidentified glossy ibis my rear end

  3. Shelley responds:

    I don’t know about the ibis, but here in So. IL we have turkey buzzards that can stand 4 ft tall, so perhaps there are some that are 6 ft. They have the red eyes and the scary prehisoric look to them, and if you catch them on the road working a road kill, they inflate themselves to look bigger and more menacing. Come to the Buzzard Fest some spring in Makanda and talk to the experts about your sighting and get to pet a real turkey buzzard.

  4. kgehrman responds:

    I find that big birds appear much larger when you observe them with a creature that they are trying to eat.
    Check out this video clip of a medium sized golden eagle and its lunch. Makes you rethink the doubts about skinny little Marlln Lowe’s ride back in 1977. F. J. Cosentino may actually have seen the same bird, if you look at the time frame, I am not saying it was an eagle. But perhaps a condor blown of course during a wind storm.
    The oddest thing I see in F.J.s report is the fact that his bird lifted straight off the coon and flew towards him.
    Even condors need a high cliff or a deep canyon to launch into flight. They are too big to gain altitude right of the ground. They are more like hangliders than flappers.

  5. siquisiri responds:

    I always find articles on these birds interesting. The odd stories of the LOST Thunderbird photo hit home as I remember seeing the photo in a Texas general store in a local pamphlet publication on a family trip to Mexico. I regret not buying it, but I remember the pic really freaked me out at around 15 years old. It showed the stretched out bird nailed to the side of a barn with a group of men sitting in front of it. I remember thinking, my god loook at the size of that thing!

  6. siquisiri responds:

    Its amazing what you can find on the net! Heres some info on the store I saw the book in, who knows, maybe its been republished!

  7. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    This witness’s story caught my attention because he describes exactly what my ex-wife told me she saw around nine years ago. At the time we lived in a rural area in south central Indiana. I had told her about my interest in the Thunder bird years before that and she got a good laugh out of it. She said I was nuts. Anyway, she was on her way home from the store. She turned off of state hwy 550 in Martin County onto our rural road. She noticed some vultures on a deer carcass next to the road ahead of her. She said she could see one of the vultures was bigger than the rest. When she approached she realized the big one was much bigger than rest of them. So large that it scared her. She slowed down to have a better look and she said the big one rose up and looked at her through the passenger window of her minivan. The head was even with the upper half of the window. She said the head was bigger than any bird she had ever seen but looked very much like a vulture. The head was so much larger than a normal vulture it looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. That’s when she sped out of there. She said it looked like a different species. I asked if it was standing on the deer but she said no. It was behind the deer further down in the ditch. She described it almost exactly as the Florida witness did. The first thing she said when she came home prior to telling me her story was “uh, I think I just saw one of your thunderbirds” She was pretty upset. I drove back to the spot but the vultures were not there. The carcass was still there. I did a rough measurement and the bird would have had to have been around six or seven feet tall in order to look directly into the window of the minivan from where it stood behind the deer. Was she lying? I don’t think so. She looked at it from less than 15 feet away and had other vultures there for comparison. There was no way she could have misjudged the size.

  8. jrm3434 responds:

    I’ve been coming to Cryptomundo for years but only registered just now because when I was 14 I saw almost the exact same thing in Kingman Arizona. I was with my friend’s family driving to have lunch in the Hualapi mountains one Sunday after church in a 70s era Bronco when I saw what looked like a man standing in the middle of the road. As we got closer, I realized it was the biggest bird I’d ever seen. I’ll never forget how creeped out I was as we swerved to avoid it because it would not move. It just stood there and stared at us as we went around. It may have been some kind of vulture, but it was huge. it was easily looking eye to eye with me in the back seat of the bronco. I’m 6’5″ now and only a little taller than the top of said 70s era Bronco, so this thing was at least 6′ tall. And I saw it from a few feet away.

  9. Spinach Village responds:

    Great stuff! All the witness accounts!

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