In listening to legends of the Thunderbird, cryptozoologists have wondered if some enormous member of the avifauna might not lie behind such a tradition. Sometimes, indeed, enormous birds have been reported.
In 1889, the Evening Post carried a somewhat shocking report. A ship called the Talisman was sailing off the coast of Chile. An enormous bird seized a boy on board and carrying him up to a height of 30'-40'. A sailor had jumped, trying to rescue the boy, only to find himself attacked by another bird. Captain Putt produced his trusty gun and shot the first bird, which dropped the boy. A boat was lowered which the second bird proceeded to attack, but was at last driven off. All in the water were rescued.
The first bird was still alive, but was captured with a lasso. However, it died three days later. It was left in Valparaiso for taxidermy.
What was the nature of these gigantic fowls? Did they represent some lingering species which, in days of yore, had swooped on hapless Native Americans with luncheon in mind? Who can say?