21 February 2014

Strange Sealskin Bird in Kentucky

A resident of Louisville, Ky., has a sealskin bird. The bird was recently shot in the wing by its owner, who afterward captured it. It is about the size of a hen, but has a monkey-shaped face, with a beak like no other bird that has ever been seen. The beak is very short and shovel-shaped, and has a destructive capacity beyond that of a bald eagle. The talons are exactly like those of an eagle, and the wings measure four feet nine inches from tip to tip. The legs are perfectly straight and without joint, and about nine inches long. It is the body of the bird, however, that attracts the most attention. This is covered with fur instead of feathers, and the hair is about the length of that on a sealskin after it is dressed to make a lady's sack with. It is of a dark brown color, but somewhat lighter than seal brown. The wings are covered with fur, commencing at the body, but feathers begin farther on, and the end feathers on the wing are as long as those of an ordinary-sized bald eagle. The bird lives on raw beef and English sparrows, and nothing delights it so much as to have an opportunity to catch, tear and devour a lot of sparrows. It has already become quite domesticated and a great pet with the ladies, who declare it too lovely for anything.

August, 6, 1884. A strange bird. Somerset Herald 33(8): 4.