Very Big Birds
A number of witnesses also attested to seeing the birds, describing them as "gigantic black birds with hooked beaks, with bodies as big as a mans and a white ring coated around their half foot long necks. The birds were said to have had a wingspan of fifteen to twenty five feet in length.
Marlon Lowe has for years maintained his encounter did occur, however many zoologists have regarded this tale as a fabricated encounter with an Andean Condor, the largest known flying creature still existing today.
Marlon Lowe's is not an isolated story for sightings and encounters with abnormally-large birds have been documented for decades in North America, with many being reported in the late 1970's.
These encounters are labelled by cryptozoologists as Thunderbird encounters.
Science supports the possibility that these creatures may have existed, although possibly greatly exaggerated in their capabilities. We now know large winged creatures called Teratorns possibly existed with early man, as a number of skeletons of these creatures have been unearthed (most notably in South America) and they fit descriptions of many of the modern sightings of "Thunderbirds". Teratorns not only would have been able to stand and look a man in the eye, but they dwarf species of known condors, vultures and eagles, being up to at least five times bigger in height and wingspan. These flying beasts are believed to have been extinct for up to maybe eight million years.
So could teratorns, or a creature that links them with modern species of raptors (Birds of Prey), have somehow survived extinction and be stalking humans from the air today?
Could they be responsible for many disappearances and vanishings?
An urban legend associated with tales of Thunderbirds comes from Texas, where it is said that two cowboys killed a large "bird-like" creature in late April, 1890, and dragged their kill back into town and a picture, or pictures, were taken of it pinned to a barn, its wingspan taking the length of the entire barn wall!
The local newspaper was said to have published the story, however nobody has ever substantiated the validity of the story and any pictures have never been made public, however a few, including cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson, have attested they have seen, or owned at one point, a copy of the picture. This creature was described more as reptilian in appearance, leading many to speculate that if the story is true the cowboys may have shot and killed a Pterodactyl - a dinosaur said to have also died out millions of years ago.
Many tales of fiction are littered with great birds, such as the Griffin and the Phoenix, both with legendary supernatural powers attributed to them. Arabian tales of Sinbad the Sailor fighting the mighty Roc - a man-eating bird so large it was said to be able to carry elephants - have become legendary in English speaking countries. Could these examples of large birds have some basis in fact?
Do large birds of prey, much larger than any species currently known to Science, exist?
Or are "Thunderbirds" the result of perhaps a collective memory, of birds from long ago stored in our genetic make-up that still manifest themselves in some form today?