2009-03-05 / Local & State

Birds Flying Drunk After Eating Fermented Fruit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Some drunks got out of hand near Beale Street in Memphis, but instead of barflies it was birds intoxicated from eating fermented fruit.

The Health Department investigated this week after receiving calls about dead and floundering birds, cedar waxwings to be exact. The birds were crashing into buildings in the Peabody Place area.

An investigator told The Commercial Appeal he traced the problem to berries from nearby holly trees. Recent freezes ruptured berry cells, allowing the wild yeast to convert sugars into alcohol.

The birds apparently got tipsy from consuming the fermented berries.

Health officials say they don't how many birds died from flying intoxicated.

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