In northern British Columbia, some Native Americans have a tradition about a deadly flying creature of the night: the “devil bird.” It is said to exit hell after sundown and search for victims, animals or human, until sunrise, when it returns to hell. I don’t believe all details in all native traditions, but I believe that some of them contain some truth, and I am not alone.
If the reports are true in the nonfiction cryptozoology book Bird From Hell (second edition), by Gerald McIsaac, not all of the missing children and missing women who had hitchhiked, at night, on a long stretch of remote highway in Canada died from assaults from animalistic humans. People in northern British Columbia, both Native Americans and new arrivals, sometimes encounter a large nocturnal flying creature, and many residents of remote areas stay indoors at night because of those encounters. The “Devil Bird” is said to attack and eat humans. The accounts in this book, Bird From Hell, support the living-pterosaur theory in the larger book Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition), by Jonathan Whitcomb (me), in addition to the Texas-pterosaur book Big Bird, by Ken Gerhard. Not all species of pterosaurs are extinct, and I am no longer the only author of nonfiction books about live pterosaurs.
[A girl in Kwadacha (northern British Columbia)] was outside one dark night, when it seemed that “one of the boys” was spying on her. She was big for her age, and decided to teach him a lesson by charging him. At the end of the charge, she came to a stop. It was not one of the boys . . . She was facing a creature that she later called the “devil bird.” It released a “cloud of smoke” and flew away. Whatever the species of that flying creature, pterosaur, whatever, it was not one of the boys or one of the animalistic humans who have attacked girls on the Highway of Tears.
The author of Bird From Hell had talked with the girl from Kwadacha and included her account in the second edition of his book. But only after its publication was Mr. McIsaac informed (by me and by one of my associates) that the “cloud of smoke” is not a defense to hide the creature from an attacker but a poisonous vapor that can be debilitating, if not deadly, if inhaled. The author had been ignorant of that abscure detail about modern living pterosaurs: At least some extant pterosaurs, perhaps related to the “fiery flying serpents” that killed many ancient Israelites at the time of Moses, have this capability. I believe it can be used for both defense (as in the above account) and attack (as in killing a larger animal or human that the “devil bird” later eats).
A Native American tradition is not necessarily completely fictional, just because it seems to defy modern assumptions about extinction.