Hornbill Bird Misidentification?

Somebody once suggested that some sighting reports of apparent pterosaurs were misidentifications of Hornbill birds. But what sightings? That skeptic made the same mistake as many other skeptics: throwing out generalizations rather than examining specific sighting reports.

But why would any skeptic choose the Hornbill misidentification option? Would it not be to discredit the living-pterosaur idea in general? It is one thing to single out a particular sighting that may have been a Hornbill misidentification, then point out that it was not a living pterosaur. It is quite another, however, to fail to single out any particular sighting, then speculate that sightings in general are misidentifications. Skeptics might just as well confuse science with science fiction.

I don’t imply that no sightings of assumed (by eyewitnesses) pterosaurs are misidentified birds; I know of more than one sighting that was of a misidentified Frigate Bird. But what sighting report was a possible Hornbill bird? Perhaps the skeptic has no specific idea.

Hornbill or Pterosaur

. . . there are still many significant problems . . . to tie this [hornbill] into the Hodgkinson and Hennessy sightings. The above [photograph shows that the] Hornbill has obvious primary feathers. The beak and head are clearly distinguished . . . The tail is not long-thin. And there is nothing like a long thin horn like appendage coming out the back of the head, pointed towards the trunk of the body.

Ropen Dismissed by Smithsonian

With all those negative comments towards those he disagrees with, I wonder if Mr. Switek has ever heard of the word “bulverism.”


Child Care in Long Beach, California


Non-Extinct Pterosaurs in British Columbia

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.

three nonfiction cryptozoology books on extant pterosaurs in North America

Missing Hitchhikers in British Columbia

[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.

Hoax Criticism and Wingspans

Estimated pterosaur wingspans, analyzed in recent statistics of eyewitness reports, show what would be expected of a variety of pterosaur species of different sizes, observed under various conditions by eyewitnesses having various abilities in estimating sizes. In other words, the sighting reports support the honesty of eyewitnesses, in general.

The following two graphs show a slow decline in numbers of reported sighting as the wingspan increases. The first graph has a column for every two feet of wingspan, increasing in wingspan to the right (the two greatest wingspans being beyond the scope of the graph). The second graph is similar, except that the columns are three feet apart in wingspan and the greatest two wingspan estimates are included.

wingspan estimates, with size in feet increases by two, to the right

estimated wingspans for pterosaurs, at three feet differences per columnThe second graph is better at showing the steady decline to the right, but this graph gives too much emphasis to the “b” column peak. In the first graph is it more difficult to see the slow slope to the right, but the peak is more accurately shown to be spread out around the lower-to-middle wingspans.

Nocturnal Pterosaurs in San Diego

I later talked with the eyewitness by phone, verifying his credibility (I found nothing in his words or manner of speaking that would suggest the possibility of a hoax). He varied in his estimate of the flying height: thirty yards instead of forty yards. The tail was long and straight. With one of the flying creatures, he noticed a movement that he interpreted as evidence for the animal’s breathing.

Pterosaur Sightings and Eyewitness Activities

What are eyewitnesses doing when they encounter apparent pterosaurs? Activities vary widely, but several things are more common, namely driving or sitting as a passenger in a motor vehicle, and enjoying some form of recreation on or near a body of water (creek, river, lake, or sea).

Driving While Under the Influence of a Pterosaur

I doubt we will ever have Drive Safely While Witnessing a Live Pterodactyl Week. But in the United States, driving may be the most common activity when someone sees an apparent living pterosaur . . . Within a period of about three years, I received reports of at least ten sightings involving driving, in seven states: South Carolina, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas, Ohio (3), Georgia (2). With sighting dates from about 1980 to 2007, one involved driving a tractor, the rest involved driving a car.

Pterosaur Interupts a Bike Ride

“I was approx. 1/2 mile from home, riding [a bike] down an old country road . . . I looked to my left, and on a wood plank fence were two of the biggest bird-like creatures I could ever imagine! I almost crashed my bike! They were about 50 ft from me; the first thing I noticed was their heads, then I thought this can’t be! Could they be dinosaurs?”

Boyish Trespassing in a Swamp

Tom Carson . . . had no knowledge of his sister’s 1965 sighting until he spoke with Patty a few weeks ago (the flying creature seen by her was an apparent Rhamphorhynchoid). His three-second encounter was about a year later, in 1966, but in the same area of Cuba: Guantanamo Bay. . . . The flying creature he saw seems to have been the same species as the one his sister had seen and the one Eskin Kuhn would see in 1971. Tom told me it appeared to have no feathers and was bigger than a pelican. The tail was odd, like one would expect of the shaved tail of a dog.

Looking Through a Telescope

Around 2007, a man was looking through his telescope when he saw a “dinosaur bird.”

“My father has been the subject of much ridicule after claiming to have seen a ‘dinosaur bird’ fly across the moon. His neighbor has a telescope and they’d been watching the sky when they saw it. My sister and I dismissed it, although I couldn’t think of anything he could have seen and mistook for a ‘dinosaur bird.’ My father later told me that he’d done some research and learned that they were called ‘ropen.’ . . .” [page 31 of Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition]

Names for live pterosaurs

What would you call an extant (living) pterosaur? Name it what you will, but it probably will depend on where you are from. If you live around Manus Island in northern Papua New Guinea, you would call it “kor.” Further to the south on Umboi Island, call it “ropen.” Other names in Papua New Guinea include “indava,” “duwas,” and “seklo-bali.”

What if you live in the United States? Some eyewitnesses of living pterosaurs would rather forget what they saw, for they fear the obvious name: “pterodactyl.” One eyewitness in the Anza Borrego Desert in Southern California was troubled by the word his friend used for what they observed soaring in the distance  (“pterodactyl”). He said something like, “it has to be a kite or something” (from the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America). So why did that man choose to leave the area before nightfall? If there ever were such a thing, kite flying in that remote desert has long ago become extinct. His friend has no doubt: They saw the real thing.

You don’t need to be crazy to see a living pterosaur, regardless of what you call it. Brian Hennessy, a psychologist from Australia who has lived in China for years, used the word “prehistoric” for a flying creature seen by an eyewitness on Bougainville Island, New Guinea, many years ago. The eyewitness did not go to Hennessy for counseling; Hennessy himself is the eyewitness. The point? You don’t have to be crazy to see a living pterosaur. A psychologist is the least likely person to unknowingly hallucinate anything and Hennessy was not alone when the large “prehistoric” creature flew overhead.


cryptozoology book about reports of living pterosaurs in the United States

Living pterosaurs have been reported in the United States. This nonfiction cryptozoology book may appear shocking, but it logically explains why these wonderful flying creatures have seemed to have remained hidden in North America for so many years. The eyewitness testimonies have been analyzed individually and collectively. The result? Astonishing! Read the many eyewitness sighting reports; buy the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America, on Amazon or elsewhere. What’s more, please consider: Your purchase of this cryptozoology book shall help support future research. Yes! You can enjoy the satisfaction that you have contributed to further *investigations, by your purchase, while you learn about these wonderful living creatures.

In addition, the book explains the cultural challenges faced by the American eyewitnesses. Read the words of these ordinary persons living in California, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, and many other states.

One reader said, “I found this book very interesting. . . . The problem with science is that we think we know it all and that is far from reality. This book shows courage to continue the search. If you have an interest in cryptozoology you should read this.” (Dale Reeder, Pennsylvania)

The first edition was a number-one best-selling book, by far, on Amazon.com for nonfiction books about living pterosaurs. (late 2009 through mid-2010, compared with Searching for Ropens, Dinosaurs Dead or Alive, and Big Bird.) Find out why it is more popular; read it yourself.

(* No nonprofit organization is involved regarding book revenues; but it is predicted that book sales will continue to encourage research and investigations, as it has in the past.)

Peer-reviewed scientific paper on live pterosaurs

Creation Research Society Quarterly scientific article on live pterosaursEyewitness sightings in “Reports of Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific,” include the sighting by Duane Hodgkinson, the World War II veteran. This excerpt is from Volume 45, Number 3, of the Creation Research Society Quarterly (Winter issue, 2009).

Other eyewitness testimonies are included in this scientific paper; in fact testimonies are divided into “Western” and “Native.”

Western eyewitnesses: Hodgkinson, Hennessy, an Australian couple (anonymous), Woetzel, and Nation. Native eyewitnesses: Kepas, Gideon, Wesley, Mesa, Jonah, and Jonathan. Parts of the Hodgkinson section are as follows:

In 2004 I interviewed Duane Hodgkinson, of Montana . . . He was then videotaped by Guessman in 2005. He and an army friend were in a jungle clearing west of Finschhafen . . . in 1944 . . . when something “huge” took off into the air from the far side of the clearing. The creature ran to their left, taking six to ten steps to get airborne and ascended at an angle of about 30 degrees . . . It then disappeared over the dense brush but soon returned and flew over the clearing, presenting a “perfect side view” of its features . . . .

. . . He estimated the legs to be 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m) long. The top of the back was 5–6 ft . . . above the ground just before takeoff. Although he did not notice details of the tail, he estimated it was “at least” 10–15 ft (3–4.6 m) long. He compared the wingspan to a Piper Tri-Pacer airplane (~29 ft or 9 m). The length of the head, not counting the appendage, was about 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m), similar to the length of the neck. An appendage protruding from the head, above the neck, was about half that length, and both the head and appendage were parallel to the neck . . . During flight, the feet were tucked up to the body. Hodgkinson was unsure of other features. The color was dark but not black. . . .

See also Ropen Pterodactyl American Eyewitness on Youtube (a videotaped interview with Duane Hodgkinson, with Garth Guessman conducting the 2005 interview; edited by Jonathan Whitcomb)