Lost Thunderbird Photo

The Thunderbird is a cryptozoological creature associated with large bird-like animals that live anywhere in Northern Canada and Alaska down to Central America. Similar animals often appear in Native American mythology; some tales tell of enormous eagles strong enough to carry whales back to their nests. Since pioneers began moving west across the North American plains, sightings of large birds have been reported. Similar stories appear from civilizations around the world.

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Keyboard Cowboy and CTO


The animal looks like a model, the wing membrane seems to hang loosely over a frame in a bat-wing mode.
Native American legend speaks of a Thunderbird, an enormous flying creature with a wingspan more than twice the length of a war canoe (approximately 20 feet). According to myths from Pacific Northwest, Plains and Northeastern tribes, the Thunderbird was actually a god in animal form, and the thunderous sound of its flapping wings was meant to scare humans away from its territory. Although many stories claim the Thunderbird's favorite prey is the killer whale, other myths from the Illini tribe depict these monstrous birds as vengeful hunters, prone to grabbing children in their talons and carrying them away to kill them. Some cryptozoologists today compare thunderbirds to pterosaurs, giant birds of prey that roamed the skies 115 million years ago.

Even before the turn of the 20th century, a group of cowboys in the southwest United States claimed to have killed an enormous bird, which they nailed to the side of a barn and photographed (the photo has since been lost). In July 1977, a boy from Lawndale, Illinois claimed to have been attacked by a giant bird, which clamped onto him and then lifted him for a distance of at least 30 yards. He managed to escape unharmed. Other sightings of enormous birds in New Mexico, Alaska, Texas and Pennsylvania have been reported in recent years. But some think the witnesses may simply have misjudged the birds' size. The largest scientifically recognized bird in North America is the California condor, with a wingspan of up to 10 feet.


Inverted drawing of one murkily remembered picture of African workmen standing with a dead crane - user who posted this drawing (surprisingly accurate to the actual photo which you can find online easily searching for 'thunderbird photo'). The animal in the actual picture is certainly large and impressive but the location and time are far off.


A definite hoax - the image quality is a give away but also look at the low quality attempt at "period" dress (is that guy seated center just wearing his work shirt) and, as another anon correctly points out, the bat-winged pterosaur, while a popular image, has been a known falsehood for almost a century.

I guess there's a point to be made that if you're seriously considering whether this photo of cowboys with a dead pterodactyl is real, then considering the reality of anatomical distinctions is a bit of a stretch, but in this pic the little details all add up. Never saw it until the last few years.