By Paul Seaburn
Photographs of what appears to be a giant flaming-orange bird flying over a national park might initially be called a hoax. CGI or a camera anomaly … if the airspace it was spotted in wasn’t above the Grand Teton National Park which was closed at the time because of a mysterious crack … a crack that was less than ten miles from Yellowstone National Park, home of the largest supervolcano in North America which has been the center of hundreds of recent mini-earthquakes, unusual geyser activity and plenty of “nothing to worry about” comments from officials swamped with “should we be worried?” calls. And now a giant bird. Are you worried yet?
The photos (seen here) appeared in a video (seen here) uploaded by YouTube’s MrMBB333, who keeps an eye on seismic activities around the world. The bird segment starts at around the 2:00 minute mark and was reportedly taken from an unmanned webcam near Jenny Lake, a glacial lake in the Wyoming park.
Both MrMBB333 and other sites showing the photos refer to it as a “fire” bird or “fiery bird” and naturally try to link it to the flaming Phoenix of Greek and Roman mythology. Some commenters say that if it’s real, it could be a golden eagle (native to the park but more brown that bright gold) or a big hawk (see “golden eagle” disqualification). As usual, magnification doesn’t make things any clearer. While the alleged flying thing looks huge, it could just be the perspective. Under normal circumstances, the needle on this one would point towards “highly skeptical.” Except …
Park rangers at The Grand Teton National Park have closed until further notice the area around a mysterious and growing 100-foot-long crack in a rock buttress above the Hidden Falls viewing area near … wait for it … Jenny Lake! Discovered on July 10, park rangers are concerned a 100-by-20-by-20-foot rock piece could break off and fall directly onto the usual crowds of tourists in the Hidden Falls viewing area. They have installed time-lapse cameras to take pictures of the fissure every 15 minutes and are using a new structure-from-motion technique which converts phots and GPS reading into three-dimensional models.
It’s unclear whether the puzzling giant-bird-like-apparition photos were taken by one of these monitoring cameras nor is it clear which came first – the crack or the creature. There don’t seem to be any other photos or witnesses. Because its color resembles fire, no one seems to be linking it to the Native American legend of the Thunderbird (see “golden eagle” disqualification again) … unless it’s symbolically ‘going down in flames’ over what may be a falling rock … or a supervolcano eruption.
It’s never wise to discount mysterious cracks, quakes, geysers or other seismic activities in and around Yellowstone National Park. As far as believing in flaming birds … anything real or imaginary that draw attention to the aforementioned “nothing to worry about” signs is greatly appreciated.