Winter is fast approaching in Canada's Yukon Territory, and that means birds in the region are scrambling to plump up as temperatures drop. But for Bohemian waxwings, who love to gorge on berries from mountain ash trees, all that eating comes with an unintended side effect: They get drunk.
Turns out, the mountain ash berries begin to ferment after the autumn frost, transforming them into food that packs an alcoholic punch. And when the Bohemian waxwings have a few too many of those boozy berries this time of year, they can get intoxicated to point where they're unable to fly well, if at all. Not surprisingly, drunk birds are particularly vulnerable to attacks by predators.
Fortunately, government wildlife officials from Environment Yukon have set up a safe, cozy place for buzzed birds to get sober enough to fly right. Essentially, it's an avian drunk tank for wasted waxwings.
"We have what are basically hamster cages where birds can recover," spokeswoman Nancy Campbell told The Dodo. "We encourage people who find distressed birds to bring them into the unit here."
Campbell says that when birds are deemed sober enough, they are returned to the wild. As CBC News notes, however, sometimes birds need a little extra care following their berry binges, in which case they are sent to rehab before being released.