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This article is from  Unknown Explorers

The term Big Bird in this particular instance does not refer to the lovable 6 foot tall, yellow feathered bird from the hit children’s show Sesame Street but rather a mysterious creature that was sighted several times in the Rio Grande Valley of deep South Texas during the mid 1970’s. Big Bird, as the creature was dubbed, was described by witnesses as being five feet tall, having a huge wingspan of up to 12 feet and possessing two large red eyes on a gorilla like face.

One of the first sightings of the creature, known as Big Bird, occurred on the morning of January 7, 1976 when policemen Arturo Padilla of San Benito, Texas, spotted something unusual in the headlights of his cruiser. Padilla described the creature as looking like a big bird, a really big bird. A few minutes later Padilla’s fellow officer, Homer Galvan, also reported seeing the creature in the form of a black silhouette that glided through the air. That evening a man by the name of Alverico Guajardo of Brownsville, Texas, also encountered the creature, describing it as a giant bat.

A week after these initial sightings a man named Armando Grimaldo, at Raymondville, heard a sound like the flapping of bat wings and a funny kind of whistling, as he pondered the source of the sound large claws gripped his back and ripped his shirt, knocking him to the ground. Grimaldo raced to his feet and dashed under the nearest tree as the creature flew away. Grimaldo would later describe his assailant as a flying creature with leather skin and a monkey like face.

Sightings like these continued in the region for several weeks and for a short period a wave of Big Bird hysteria swept the region, even attracting some national attention. Local radio stations played parodies about the creature and Johnny Carson even joked about the creature on The Tonight Show. As reports of the creature continued to multiply in the early months of 1976 a local radio station offered a reward for the beast’s capture. Shortly after a television station broadcast a picture of an alleged Big Bird track, which measured some twelve inches in length. Fearing that hunters might mistakenly shoot and kill large, rare and protected birds, like the whooping crane, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department took action and announced that all birds are protected by state and federal law.

As the months went by some Big Bird sightings were revealed as likely hoaxes, this coupled with the capture of a jabiru, a large stork with a wingspan up to 9 feet long usually found in Latin America, that had become lost during a migratory flight and inadvertently wound up along the Rio Grande River led belief in the Big Bird phenomenon to quickly fad. Video footage of a large blue heron, native to Texas, was also aired as footage of the Big Bird, casting further doubt on the entire story.

While that’s where the story of the Big Bird ended for some there were still those who believed that the jabiru and the blue heron could not adequately account for all of the Big Bird sightings, mainly those which included the descriptions of glowing red eye and primate like faces. These researchers have suggested several other theories to explain what was sighted in Texas that year. One of the main theories seems to be that of a living pterosaur.

Pterosaurs were an order of flying reptiles that are thought to have gone extinct along with the dinosaurs nearly 65 million years ago. They were the first true flying animals that had vertebrae, their wings composed of a membrane of skin that stretched from the side of their body, along the arm, out to the tip of an elongated fourth finger and back to the ankle, similar to today’s bats. Interestingly enough, the fossil remains of the largest known flying pterosaur, Quetzalcoatlus, were first discovered in Big Bend National Park, Texas, just four years before the first sightings of the Big Bird, in 1972.

Another theory presented by some investigators to explain the Big Bird sightings is that of the legendary Thunderbird. Thought to be a North American myth, these huge birds were thought by Native American Indians to cause thunder by the flapping of their mighty wings. Though thought to be just a legend sightings of a gigantic bird roaming the skies of North America are still reported to this day, one such sighting occurred in 1969 when the wife of a Allegheny Plateau, Pennsylvania sheriff reportedly spotted a huge bird sitting in the middle of a creek near their cabin. When the creature unfolded its wings to take off she estimated they where roughly 75 feet across.

We may never really known what haunted the Rio Grande Valley Area in 1976, what ever it was seems to have disappeared completely. A few researchers have linked Big Bird to the Point Pleasant, Virginia sightings of a creature that became known as Moth Man, a roughly 5 foot tall winged beast with red eyes thought to be the messenger of ill omen. Most dismiss this theory though as nothing that would be considered a disaster occurred in or near the Rio Grande Valley that year. And thus the Big Bird remains a mystery and will most likely remain that way as all evidence of the creature has long since disappeared and no new sightings have occurred to give continued insight into the creature’s identity.

The Evidence

There is currently no physical evidence to support the existence of the creature known as Big Bird.

The Sightings

On January 7, 1976, policemen Arturo Padilla of San Benito, Texas, spotted something unusual in the headlights of his cruiser. Padilla described the creature as looking like a big bird, a really big bird. A few minutes later Padilla’s fellow officer, Homer Galvan, also reported seeing the creature in the form of a black silhouette that glided through the air.

The evening of January 7, 1976 a man by the name of Alverico Guajardo of Brownsville, Texas, encountered the creature, describing it as a giant bat.

On January 14, 1976 a man named Armando Grimaldo, at Raymondville, heard a sound like the flapping of bat like wings and a funny kind of whistling, as he pondered the source of the sound large claws gripped his back and ripped his shirt. He described his assailant as a flying creature with leather skin and a monkey like face.

The Stats– (Where applicable)

• Classification: Avian
• Size: Roughly a 12 foot wingspan
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Unknown
• Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas, United States of America
• Movement: Flight
• Environment: Unknown

outh Texas Thunder Bird
This article is from the web site below
February 3, 2011

Posted by Steve Busti

I had spoken with this gentleman on a previous occasion, and asked him if he could give me a detailed account of his eye-witness sighting of what he believes was a flock of gigantic birds, possibly the fabled Thunderbird of Native American lore. Here’s his story:

On Saturday July 5th 2008, I witnessed, along with others, what can only be described as an extraordinary event in the Rio Grande Valley.  I was in South Texas, visiting from Missouri and staying with my brother in McAllen.  It was around 6:15 PM and my brother and I had just finished watching the Yankees-Red Sox game and the post-game show to see if the Cardinals had played yet.  We went out on the patio for a cold beverage and a smoke.

We had visited for a few minutes when I noticed two large indiscriminate black objects in the distance, and I asked out loud “What the hell are those?”. I pointed them out to my brother, who acknowledged he saw them… but he couldn’t identify what he was seeing. As I stood up and took a few steps on the patio towards the back yard, I was thinking to myself… UFOs?… hang gliders?… neither fit with what I was looking at.

Just then, a commercial airliner that was apparently coming in for a landing (or possibly a departure) at McAllen Int’l Airport had swung around in an arc behind the objects…and for a long moment I could see the two indiscriminate black objects superimposed upon the body of the airliner, and I immediately blurted out excitedly, “It’s those G** D*** Big Birds from the History Channel… Holy S***!” (and then a few other words… expletives)… I told my brother to get his wife so she could see what we were seeing.

As I walked all the way out into the yard from underneath the patio, I glanced back to the southeast in the direction the birds had come from. Much to my surprise, there was an entire line of giant birds that stretched a good half mile to three quarters of a mile in the sky- in a straight line. As the birds moved from the SE to the NW, you could clearly make out that there were thousands of smaller birds swarming around the big birds in the center of the convoy… cause that’s what it looked like… a military convoy.

There were the original 2 birds that we saw, then a considerable distance – as much as a quarter mile or better… between the first two and the next group, which was either 4 or 5 birds… I can’t remember for sure. But each of those 4 or 5 birds had a swarm of smaller birds around them… then there was a considerable distance that I would again judge to be a quarter mile or better – and then two solitary birds bringing up the rear. The birds flew “single file” through the sky. We were viewing the birds from the same side as their left wingtips.

My brother’s wife arrived in the backyard as the middle group of large birds passed with the swarms of smaller birds – thousands of them. She exclaimed “Oh my god… it’s their babies!” Also, it was easy to see with the naked eye that some of the Big Birds were bigger than others. Even my brother, who is blind as a bat, could see that the Big Birds were different sizes… I specifically asked him this as we watched this odd procession cross the sky.

I then recalled one specific detail from the History Channel documentary as the last two birds in the procession passed by. As the last two birds passed by our sight line, the final bird in the procession spread it’s wings out and it looked like a nearly perfect rectangle. I turned to my brother’s wife and asked her, “What shape is that?” She looked at me oddly and said “a rectangle”. This rectangular shaped wing, which I’ve never seen on a bird before, was one of the unique characteristics of the Big Bird as reported by eyewitnesses in Texas and other states on the History Channel program.

Of course, no one had a camera – I even went next door to see if the neighbors were home to see if they had one. Nobody home. Took me a good 5 minutes to find my car keys and get out the door and by that time the birds were out of visible sight. I drove in the general direction the birds were heading, but I never saw them again.

I called the McAllen Police Dept to file a report. They sent an officer out from animal control to take the information. He tried to tell me we probably saw migrating white cranes. I called the airport to see if there would be possibly radar tracts or returns that would show something, or if any pilots had reported seeing anything unusual. No luck. I called and spoke with the editor of The Monitor (McAllen’s major newspaper)… who my brother knew personally because the editor’s daughter was a friend of my niece. He was intrigued but showed no interest in following up on the story. I even emailed a cryptozoologist about the encounter, but I never heard back.

Just a few months ago I spoke with Dr. Patrick Redding from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center about the incident. He was one of the experts who appeared on the History Channel program. 
I shared all of the details about the sighting as well as my hypothesis on where the birds may have originated from and where they were heading that day.

Seventeen days after the sighting, Hurricane Dolly made landfall in the region. It is my belief that the Big Birds moved their flock/pod purposefully to avoid the obvious weather conditions coming ashore. In addition, if you backtrack the vector the birds were traveling in the sky, a couple of different possible points of origin make themselves evident… as well as a couple of possible destinations. I have my own theories about that specifically – but who wants to go down to Mexico these days?

I swear to God and on my grandmother’s grave that these are the facts as truthfully, honestly, and accurately as I remember them. If I was asked to take a lie detector test about the information that I have shared from this encounter, I would readily agree. I have nothing to hide nor gain from sharing this encounter with those that would be interested. I have no doubt these Thunderbirds exist. I saw them… just as many others have. As far as I know, my brother, his wife, and I are the only ones to ever report an encounter with a group of the creatures and their possible offspring or symbiotic companions.

Christopher Scott Miesner

Anyone who would like to speak with Scott about his sighting is welcome to contact me at and I will forward him your info.

Painting by Mark Hallett © 1988


  • Gaspar Hinojosa II says:

    Hi i just wanted to comment that I’m from Mcallen,TX and i too have seen the huge black bird. A couple of months ago I was waiting at the light on 10th st and the expressway then all of a sudden i saw this huge black bird gliding down to the trees next to the expressway. I made a horrible mistake i was going to park somewhere close so i could at least take a picture of it but i looked at my watch and notice i was going to be late for work. I seriously should of taken the picture, now i completely regret it. I know i missed an opportunity of a life time.

  • Lupe says:

    Hey Steve and all,
    I am a Valley native and remember the big bird scare of the mid 70′s.
    Two cops from my hometown claimed to have seen it as well.

    I’ve been thinking of doing a short doc on the subject.

  • jenny says:

    Its was last year 2010 of sept.12 time 10:48pm got home from my neice bday party around that time, i love to see the stars so i looked up n i spottedsomething very weirdi thought it was a plane butdidnt have blinking lights and i looked at it again and it was a huge bird it looked like a dinosaur and colored brownish and greenish like i guess ?? Huge wings and long huge tail , my mom even saw it and a plane was following it. Flew around my house so the next day i check around 11pm and saw it again, i wanted to flim it but it was to dark . I saw it 3times.

  • Andy says:

    Not to be a kill-joy, but it’s virtually impossible to determine the size of an object in the sky at a distance. The poster mentions an airliner behind the bird, but when one is focusing at infinity, it’s impossible to tell how much space is between the object in the foreground and the object in the background. As for the “little birds,” it is clear that the poster hasn’t spent time in the outdoors. Mockingbirds, jays, and other small birds routinely chase and harass birds of prey who stray too close to their nests. The big birds you likely saw were either turkey vultures, great blue herons, or white egrets.

    I lived in the valley during the big bird sightings of the 1970s and never saw any big birds that I couldn’t identify. I have also spent a lot of time in the outdoors hunting and fishing and have seen really large birds up close. All the birds I mentioned have wingspans of five feet or greater.

    Again, I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but this is more than likely a case of mistaken identity. Even the response by Gaspar, is likely a misidentification. If you haven’t been up close and personal with large birds, you don’t realize how big they actually are. Sorry if I’m ruffling feathers…pun definitely intended!



  • steven says:

    okay me my brother and friend went out around 6 and stood till 8-ish practicing.NOW i live in Hialeah Florida.and its freaking full of vultures and i used to think those birds were giant.I looked them up on the internet and their max wing span is 6FT.Florida red head vulture.

    After awhile of practicing i sat down resting.Then i just looked up and this BIG ASS BIRD was flying over us and over the tree.It just needed maybe 2-3 feet of extra wingspan to completely cover half the width of the top of the tree.I got up screaming”look how big that bird is!!!”we all saw it gray and it flew till we didn’t see it anymore.Not once it flapped its wings.It was gliding straight across but this thing had a 3 times bigger wingspan than any of the big ass vultures iv seen.THIS SHIT WAS HUGE.Im 6ft and 2 inches.The vulters max size are 6ft and i thought they were huge when i see them up in the sky and many up close but they dont look 6ft in length from the sky.THIS big ass bird we saw had length of wings bigger & taller than me FROM that height in the sky.

    after it passed my friend said.”steven(me) you think that bird could uv picked us up?”we all saw same thing this shit was HUGE.

    was it a vulture maybe?
    an eagle!?
    a seabird or something!?*no F**** seabirds fly in my area*
    or of course we can reach out and call it..Thunder bird!!?!?

  • Omar says:

    I myself have seen it and i am from mission, i will not share my story on here but if you want to know about mine email me at or text my phone number 956-307-8068

  • Ja'von says:

    I was at Bloch Park in Selma, AL about 12 midnight standin by the water. And I heard this loud noise like no other, sounded like a dinosaur or a woman getting slaughtered. I looked across the water and saw HUGE wings flyin’ away. It was so big that it flew away slowly, and u can hear the wings producing some kind of wind noise as it flew away. I wanna report this but I don’t know who to go to and if they will believe me or not. But I have witnesses. if u guys know what I should do, email me at cus that bird looks dangerous and I dont think people know that its at our park. And it may be more than 1 of them.

  • david godsey says:

    Looks like a buzzard to me!!!

  • Jeff Wallace says:

    In July of 2002 or so, while at our annual 4th of July family reunion on Lake Martin near Dadeville, Alabama, I decided to take several friends and relatives out for a moonlight boat ride to the far side of the lake. I knew the lake very well but it was a fairly dark night with very little moonlight. It was probably around 10pm and we were running along at around 25 to 30mph between the Dixie Sailing Club and the Kowaliga Bridge, when I glanced up and saw a huge dark bird cruising right over the boat. The thing appeared to be no more than 15 to 25 feet above us. This animal was huge and had square wingtips. As I stared up at it speechlessly, my daughters’ boyfriend noticed I was looking up. As he turned to look up as well, the bird turned slightly and veared up and away, dissappearing into the dark night sky with a couple of flaps of its’ wings. Bo only caught a glance of it, but I got an extended look as it appeared to be surveying the kids inside the boat. This unbelievable creature was about as long as my 21 foot skiboat and had a wingspan of probably twice that length. I’d never seen anything like it, before or since. Beleive it or not, I know what I saw, and it wasn’t a plane, nor a glider,… this was a living, breathing creature of enormous proportions. I am convinced this was a legendary thunderbird.

Chuppacabra Timeline

TIMELINE and information on Chupacabra
By Lawrie Williams

mid-1970s Rio Grande Valley South Texas
Sightings of what may have been a condor linked to a rash of
mutilated cattle. Blood was removed to the last drop.

Early 1970s Brownsville Texas
Rancher finds a bull dead - no blood around it, no tracks.

1994 Puerto Rico
4 or 6 "little greys" found under a bed and chased out of
the house with a broom. (reported by Joyce Murphy.)

March 11 1995 Orocovis
Eight sheep found dead. The animals had three strange marks
or puncture holes in the chest and were described as "completely
drained of blood."

August 1995 Canvanas, Puerto Rico
Chupacabra blamed for the death of about 150 animals.

Nov 19 1995 Puerto Rico
The chupas is blamed in the deaths of dozens of turkeys,
rabbits, goats, cats, dogs and even horses and cows...
Said to have ripped open the bedroom window of a house in
the north-central city of Caguas, destroyed a stuffed teddy
bear, and left a puddle of slime and a piece of rancid white
meat on the windowsill. It had hairy arms and huge red eyes.
In another attack it came at about 7 a.m. "It just showed up
and -- poof -- it vanished."

Nov 19 1995 Puerto Rico
35 times in three months. Canovanas Puerto Rico Resident saw
it one afternoon in his back yard when it came out of the brush
and bit the family dog. "I think it belongs to the monkey family,
but it isn't a monkey exactly," he said. "It ran like a monkey
and was about four feet tall, but it didn't have a tail."

Dec 7 1995 near Guanica, Puerto Rico
Unusual bloodless deaths of chickens and cows.

Dec 14 1995 Naguabo on the east coast
Several caged rabbits were "found dead with holes in the neck
area, without a drop of blood." Other rabbits had disappeared.
Near rabbit cage was a track with a three-toed claw.

Dec 15 1995 Puerto Rico
In one year is thought responsible for at least 1OOO killings-
goats, sheep, cattle, chickens and other animals. There are
many eye witness accounts. The creature is 4 - 6 feet tall,
walks upright, is not humanoid, has large oval alien type eyes.

Dec 18 1995 Puerto Rico
Animals died as the result of a single puncture mark found on
some part of the body which apparently drained them of blood.
One photo shows a Siamese cat with a puncture mark through its

Dec 18 1995 Puerto Rico
Local tabloid Vocero echoed the possibility that giant vampire
bats had infiltrated the island in cargo shipments proceeding
from South America. Normal sized bats are fairly common in the

Dec 21 1995, 3am near Guanica, Puerto Rivo
44-year-old Osvaldo Claudio Rosado was washing a car. He was
grabbed from behind. He tried to fight off the intruder and saw
a black-haired "gorilla" about five feet tall which ran off.
Rosado had cuts in his abdomen, possibly torn by fingernails or

Dec 21 1995 Klamath Falls
Pregnant heifer dead with her right ear gone, hide cut from her
face, the tongue cut lengthwise along the top of the teeth, all
four teats removed leaving black circles on the surface of the
udder, and the rectum and vagina cut out in a neat "keyhole" cut.
No blood at any of the excisions or on the ground.

Dec 26 1995 Early morning hours Puerto Rico, Torrecilla Baja region
Woman heard strange noises in her house and dog barking. Siamese
cat found dead with the genitals removed, two guinea hens with
their throats slit, a chicken with "perforations," and four ducks
and four rabbits dead in their cages.

Dec 26 1995 Puerto Rico - San German
Eleven goats found dead.

Jan 4 1996 Isabella County, Michigan.
Eight calves frozen and dead. Two were skinned of their hide
from head to hooves; six were skinned of all their hide from
neck to hooves. All were black and white Holsteins and about
a week old.

Jan 7 1996 Klamath Falls, Oregon
One week old calf dead and mutilated. Right ear had been cut
off and the entire skull had been removed.

March 1996 NW Miami rural area
Killed about 40 animals. One woman saw a dog-like figure
standing up, with two short hands in the air.

May 2 1996 Rio Grande Valley South Texas
Pet goat dead with three puncture wounds in its neck. 6 y.o.
goat found with "telltale marks of the "Chupacabra"

May 2 1996 Juarez Mexico
Many small mammels, dogs, etc. have met with this tall "animal"
-like being with three toed feet and hands, on haunches with
the fore arms suspended at chest level very similar to a
kangaroo. It has a row of spikes or straight feather like
projections from it's head and down it's back that raise and
lower and have been seen to glow with their own light. Has been
seen to take off on all fours. The "sucking " device seems to
be a tube like projection from the mouth.

May 2 1996 Mexico and Miami
Attacks are becoming more distributed. Wounds resemble 1/4"
holes similar to a biopsy puncture that extend completely
through muscle tissue and in at least one instance the wounds
were discovered pronouncedly through the inner tissue without
leaving any wound traces on the surface layer skin.

May 3 1996 Calderon Village Sinaloa, Northern Mexico.
A giant bat-like creature terrorizes a village. Goats are
found daily with their blood sucked dry, witnesses said today.
Farmers have formed night vigilante squads. "We are telling
people to keep the women and children locked up inside at night"
a villager said, "Nobody knows really what it is." Dozens of
goats have fallen victim to the bloodsucker. It has allegedly
attacked one human.

May 3 1996 Mexican State of Sonora - Veracruz and Agua Prieta.
Numerous animals drained of blood and a vague report of a human
suffering the same fate.

May 3 1996 Sinaloa State, the state below Sonora State.
Dead cows and sheep. The animal(s) is described as 1-1.5 feet
and able to take flight.

May 3 1996 Six other states in Mexico
Similar attacks have been reported.

May 9 1996, 2 a.m. Tucson, AZ
Espinoza Family - a front door was opened and a creature was
seen 3 to 4 foot high with scaly skin, clawed hands, red eyes,
and a row of spines from the skullcap and down the back. The
creature "mumbled and gestured".

May 9 1996 5-5.3O a.m. - dawn Tucson, AZ
A seven year old boy in the same house said the creature stood
on his bed and briefly on his chest. Both the older and younger
Espinoza family members described a smell "like a wet dog."
The key element in this story is that 911 was used, and the
metropolitan Tucson police did respond. A search of the
immediate neighborhood and questioning of residents turned up

May 10 1996 Florida
Reports of a chupacabra among Hispanics.

May 12 1996 Mexico's southern state of Chiapas
28 dead rams found with puncture marks.

Chupacabra Description:
"Very large, slanted, glowing red eyes. Face is flat, perhaps
simian-like, body some say is covered with spotted skin "like a
frog's" or has "spikes on its head and back" with "chicken legs"
that have a 3-toed foot about six inches long. Such tracks have
been found and photographed in dirt near dead animals. This
creature has been seen to hop, or fly, from the ground to a tree
or from trees to the ground."

"It attacks so fast, everything from horses to sheep. It sucks
out the blood completely." 

February 3, 2011

Posted by Steve Busti
I had spoken with this gentleman on a previous occasion, and asked him if he could give me a detailed account of his eye-witness sighting of what he believes was a flock of gigantic birds, possibly the fabled Thunderbird of Native American lore. Here’s his story:



Anyone who would like to speak with Scott about his sighting is welcome to contact me at and I will forward him your info.

Painting by Mark Hallett © 1988

In 1976, residents of South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley were terrorized by a huge, ape faced, winged beast, which, according to eyewitness reports, bore two blood-red eyes.

While this creature may share the same moniker as the affectionate, yellow plumed character adored by millions on Sesame Street, anyone who’s ever encountered this ape-faced, bird-like monstrosity will tell you that this creature is anything but lovable.

Although Tom Waldon would claim to have found unusual,three-toed tracks measured 8-inches across embedded in the ground near his Harlingen home on January 2nd, 1976, the first known sighting of the creature that would come to be known as “Big Bird” occurred on January 1st, 1976,  when, then 11-year old Tracey Lawson  and her 14-year old cousin, Jackie Davies, saw the beast while playing in Lawson’s back yard near Harlingen, Texas.

The two girls claim they saw the creature standing approximately 300-feet away in an irrigation canal. Lawson, frightened yet intrigued, went inside to get her binoculars. When she returned, Lawson did not a the large bird she expected, but a mysterious monster staring back at her. Not surprisingly their parents, who had yet to hear any reports of the creature, were skeptical of the girls’ story.

That would be until the wee hours of January 7th when a San Benito, Texas, police officer named Arturo Padilla claimed to have seen something extraordinary in the headlights of his cruiser.

Padilla described the creature as looking like a “really big bird,” approximately 5-feet in height with a 12-foot wingspan. As striking as the proportions of this AVIAN ANOMALY are, far and away the most intriguing aspects of this flying fiend were its bald head and simian-like features complete with bright red eyes.

Almost immediately following this initial encounter, Padilla’s colleague — officer, Homer Galvan — also reported seeing the thing, but due to his distant proximity all he was able to discern was a large, black, winged creature silhouetted against the sky.

Later that night, Alverico Guajardo and his nephew Ricardo — who were fishing on the banks of the Rio Grande — also claimed to have encountered the thing. They described it as having eyes as big as silver dollars and a long, skinny beak, despite the fact that it resembled a huge bat.

The next day the Brownsville Herald ran a story about Guajardo’s  bizarre sighting and quoted Alverico as saying:

“I was scared. It’s got wings like a bird, but it’s not a bird. That animal is not of this world.”

This abnormally powerful fear is a sensation shared by many people who claim to have had encounters other fantastic, red-eyed, flying fiends such as the MOTHMAN, the BLACK BIRD OF CHERNOBYL, the FREIBURG SHRIEKER and the Anomalies, Monsters
, just to name a few.

That having been stated, the mammalian features described by most witnesses, would seem to preclude quasi-paranormal creatures like the ones listed above. Still, as terrifying as this apparition was to behold, the worst was yet to come.

On January 14, 1976, Raymondville resident Armando Grimaldo claimed to have had the most harrowing encounter yet chronicled with this aerial atrocity. According to Grimaldo, he heard a loud flapping sound accompanied by a odd whistling noise while walking outside. Just as he glanced up to find the source of this strange noise a pair of large, talon-like claws grabbed onto the back of his shoulders, tearing his shirt and sending him crashing to the ground.

Grimaldo managed to scramble to his feet and dove under a nearby tree for protection. He stared in horror as the “Big Bird” flew away.

Neighbors, responding to Grimaldo’s shrieks, claimed that they found him in his back yard shaking and screaming, his shirt and jacket  torn. Grimaldo would later describe his airborne assailant as a soaring, gorilla-faced creature with leathery, bat-like skin.

This description is not unlike those of WINGED MONKEYS that have been seen in some of the most remote regions of the Earth, such as the Indonesian ORANG-BATI, the Vietnamese AHOOL, Cameroon’s bat-like OLITIAU and even North America’s dubiously named BATSQUATCH.

On February 24th, 1976, three teachers from San Antonio claimed to have seen the “Big Bird” near Harlingen as well. The trio indicated that the creature did not look bird or bat-like, but resembled most an order of FORMERLY EXTINCT flying reptiles that were thought to have been wiped out along with the dinosaurs nearly 65 million years ago known as pteranodons.

These bizarre sightings persisted in the area for several weeks and it wasn’t long before the press got wind of these encounters and a wave of “Big Bird” hysteria swept the nation.

Local radio stations offered $1,000 rewards for the capture of this creature and television news teams showed footage of 9 by 12-inch, bird-like tracks that were said to be those of the “Big Bird.” The incident would soon reach the apex of its fame when it was spoofed by none other than the legendary Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

As the frenzy surrounding this phenomenon peaked, Ed Dutch, commission officer of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – no doubt fearing that would-be monster hunters might mistakenly shoot and kill large, rare and protected birds — announced that the birds were protected by state and federal law:

“We have a number of species of birds that do exist in South Texas in the Valley area. Many of them have wingspans up to perhaps 10 feet or in excess of 10 feet, and some of them are on the rare endangered species list. The punishment for catching a protected bird could cost a hunter $5,000.”

Not long after the initial “flap” of sightings, a 5-foot tall jabiru — the tallest flying bird found in South and Central America, with a wingspan up to 9-feet — was found far from its Latin American home, near the Rio Grande River.

This combined with video footage of a large blue heron, which was passed off on a local news program as genuine footage of the creature; led some to surmise that the whole “Big Bird” fad was nothing more than non-indigenous birds being misidentified by overeager eyewitnesses.

Of course, for those who had all too close encounters with this creature — such as Officer Padilla, and Armando Grimaldo — the skeptics claim that the whole flap was caused by nothing more than giant storks and blue herons was patently ridiculous. One does not need to be a trained ornithologist to recognize the differences between a bird’s beak and a primate’s face.

Alex Resendez claimed to have seen the “Big Bird” three times during in the 1970s. The first two sightings consisted of brief glimpses of the beast over Brownsville, but the third time; Resendez swore he saw it in broad daylight near his rural McCook area home.

Resendez said the huge animal had landed not far from him in a cow pasture, which is not surprising as this animal — much like many creatures reputed to be from OUT OF THIS WORLD — was accused of numerous cattle mutilations.

He described the thing as having glassy, black eyes underscored by distinctive red markings, but its oddest feature was its beak. In his own words:

“You have to look close because his beak is very transparent. If you see it real fast, you’re going to think he ain’t got no beak… I never seen a bird that big. He was brownish, like dirt… He does not have long legs and does not stand like other birds.”

Resendez estimated that the brown bird stood over 4-feet tall, but before he could inspect it any further, an angry bull charged at the creature. The “big Bird” wasted no time in unfurling its large wings — which, much to his surprise, appeared to have blue and white stripes — and taking flight. The short legs and translucent beak would seem to indicate that this is not a typical stork or heron as skeptics claimed.

While Texas has been long known for its THUNDERBIRD sightings — and there are more than a few who have speculated that the “Big Bird” may be the very same creature — there is nothing in the annals of American zoology that even remotely compares to the ferocious, flying, ape-faced fiend that stalked the Texas skies all those years ago.


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