Amazing Tales: Strange but true tales of birds gone wild from the archives of the Kalamazoo Gazette

Steve Ellis at the Kalamazoo Gazette has been compiling “weird but true” stories from their archives and this month the theme was “Birds gone wild,” and I thought you may be interested in checking it out. You can read the stories at the Kalamazoo Gazette’s website. It is interesting to see how much things have changed since the time when these stories were written.

By Steve Ellis

I am fascinated with quirky old stories, and in my years of working at the Kalamazoo Gazette I have accumulated more than 500 of these strange but true stories from the Gazette archives. This is the latest installment of a series, with more to come each month in Generations magazine.

This month: Birds gone wild.

Birds fly from Fort Wayne to Kalamazoo in three hours

June 2, 1936
Fifty Kalamazoo racing pigeons flew from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Kalamazoo on Saturday in a racing competition sponsored by the Kalamazoo Racing Pigeon Club. Birds owned by Joseph Skwarski, 426 E. Frank St., placed first and second, covering the 100 miles in three hours. A north wind aided the birds in their flight to Kalamazoo.

Captured savage bird believed to be an eagle

June 19, 1935
Charlotte Strauss, 13, of Breedsville, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Strauss, found a huge bird while walking through the woods. The bird, believed to be an eagle, had been caught in a trap. The bird, more than 20 inches high and very wild, was taken to the Strauss home, A full-sized chicken each day is required to supply the bird with food.

Pretty Lake Vacation Camp caretaker solves ‘ghost light’ case

May 14, 1936
James Wilson, caretaker at Pretty Lake Vacation Camp, is sleeping a little easier. Recently, while making his rounds of the property, he discovered the lights in the old main building turned on mysteriously and quite often. Armed with a flashlight, Wilson entered and searched the building, but found no signs of an intruder. Several nights later, the lights were turned on and Wilson came away baffled. There were no broken windows or anything else out of the ordinary. Many nights went by and one night when Wilson entered the building, he solved the mystery. As he opened the door, a red-headed woodpecker flew out. The woodpecker had bored his way into the building and while flying around the room, came int contact with the pull cord for the light and clutched it with his claws, switching on the lights. So Wilson plugged the hole and ended the “ghost light” mystery.

Steve Ellis can be reached at