Like some holiday celebrations, birds and other wildlife can find their surroundings overripe for intoxication.
You're most likely to see cedar waxwings in this condition. This usually occurs in spring, when warming days cause last year's berries to ferment. Following lunch at a favorite berry bush, members of a cedar waxwing flock sometimes tumble from perches, bump into each other, and fly into things. This usually lasts a few minutes, and then, if they survive their dangerous antics, they fly away.
Robins, pigeons and even insects are occasionally observed in what looks like an inebriated state. Bees find it impossible to fly after sipping overripe nectar. Wasps can become tipsy when feeding on rotten fruit. Falling to the ground, they buzz around on their backs for a few seconds while their rapid metabolism cleanses the alcohol from their systems.
Drunken wildlife is probably more common than we realize. There is no evidence, however, that they enjoy this condition and don't seem to do it deliberately. This impairment is a lesser known challenge in the wild.
Watch a flock of robins flying in circles in the video below courtesy of Rocza on YouTube.
Are your backyard birds acting strange? Barbara Damrosch of The Washington Post provides some insight to the world of intoxicated wildlife and how fermented fruit is the culprit.