Thunderbird Hotel, Las Vegas c.1948. Aerial photo showing Hwy 91 (the strip) with Thunderbird under construction or just completed. To the left, radio station KENO. Las Vegas News Bureau photo, scan by VLV.
The Thunderbird appears in many Native American legends and is said to be larger than a condor.
Some said that the Thunderbird accompanied thunderstorms and that lightning flashed from its eyes. It was said to feed on killer whales. Some called it Piasa, or ‘devourer of man’ and believed the bird required sacrifices or it would attack a whole community.
The Ojibway of Lake Superior said that a Thunderbird fought with Mishipishu, a snake like monster of the lake.
In more recent time, the Sioux Medicine Man, John (Fire) Lame Deer told of the Thunderbird and said that the he believed that they had gone to the furthest parts of the earth, unhappy with the dirty and impure civilization of the whites.
Sightings of the thunderbird go back centuries and fossil records have shown that birds with wing spans between 12 and 18 ft existed alongside early man.
Thunderbirds are a creature from Native American mythology that have been sighted for centuries across multiple states. They are known to be larger and stronger than any classified bird, and lore states they carry off small children and livestock. The bird gets its name from the folklore of multiple Great Lakes Native American tribes, wherein the birds were said to create thunder from the flap of their wings.
Detailed accounts of Thunderbirds have appeared in Pennsylvania on multiple occassions, most notably in 2001. In Mercer County of June of that year, two neighbors observed a bird with a 15 foot wingspan perch in a nearby tree, weighing down the branches. In July of that same year, a dark bird with 15 foot wings and a foot-long beak was spotted in Erie. Later in September, this bird was seen flying over Route 119 in Westmoreland County. Two more of these birds were spotted in June of 2002.
Explanations for PA’s Thunderbirds range from a new species to leftover Pteradons.