I-Team: Expert trying to identify mysterious bird flying around S. Texas
Web Posted: 11/16/2007 12:42 AM CST
KENS 5 Eyewitness News
More sightings of a huge flying creature, originally reported by KENS, have prompted an investigation to determine if it is a monster or myth.
"Even though it was dark, the thing itself was black. The blackest I'd ever seen," said Frank Ramirez.
Years ago, Ramirez thought he was after a prowler in the back of his mother's Southwest Side home. But what greeted him on the garage rooftop still gives him goosebumps now.
"That's when the thing up there turned to me, and it was in a perched state, and it started to turn," he said. "It started to move its arms and this giant blackness was just coming out. At that point, I dropped the stick and I ran."
Ramirez sketched a drawing of the large, bird-like creature. The image is disturbing, and similar to dozens of sightings across San Antonio and South Texas.
"If you were to take a man's face and pull his chin down, just like a stretched face," said Ramirez.
"I was just terrified and as I was running. I just thought it was going to carry me off or something."
An earlier KENS story about a large, prehistoric-like bird drew more than 100,000 hits on MySanAntonio.com. More than a few people in San Antonio came forward to say they'd seen the creature, too.
One woman contacted KENS by e-mail, saying that because of our story, she now knows she's not crazy.
KENS caught up with cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.
Gerhard recently wrote a book, called "Modern Sightings of Flying Monsters" on the large, dark birds.
"When investigating mystery animals, it's important to point out that there are vast areas of land, even here in South Texas, that remain uninhabited," said Gerhard. "If an animal like big bird does exist, it certainly needs some habitat, somewhere to hide."
The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge has 88,000 acres, and the marshes and prairies are home to 413 species of birds, but no flying pterodactyls.
"Raptors of all kinds, from hawks to falcons, come throughout. Our most common is the Harris Hawk, " said Park Ranger Stacy Sanchez.
But even Sanchez admits that blogs spiked with reports this summer of something.
"People were posting about a very large, raptor-like bird, and they were talking about an 18-to-20-foot wingspan. I don't know ... It's kind of a myth," said Sanchez.
Critics say where's the proof? Eyewitness testimony without a feather or other body of evidence leaves these stories as they are — just stories.
"We know that it's rare, and we know that this area's been pretty popular hangout in the past," said Gerhard.
Gerhard has been installing cameras in Harlingen, where Guadalupe Cantu wants his big bird sighting documented and validated.
Back in San Antonio, Ramirez has mounted an outdoor light to keep the creature at bay.
"I know what I saw. It took me more than a week to step out of this house. I wouldn't step foot out of this house," said Ramirez. "It had this very, very horrible demeanor-look on its face. Like I was lunch," he said.
On Nov. 21, Gerhard will be featured in a History Channel documentary called "Birdzilla."