Earlier on Monday, an earthquake struck Turkey and some parts of Syria, in which more than 4300 people are feared dead. In wake of this deadly earthquake, numerous visuals are being circulated on social media platforms attributing them to the present quake. One such social media post with a video showing a flock of birds flying in the sky is being shared attributing it to the recent earthquake in Turkey. The video is being shared with a description that reads, ‘In Turkey, strange behaviour was observed in birds just before the earthquake’. Through this article, let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Visuals showing strange behaviour of birds before the earthquake in Turkey on 06 February 2023.
Fact: These are old visuals and they actually show a flock of birds flying erratically over a freeway in Houston, Texas. The incident took place in 2017 and news agencies have reported the visuals back then. The visuals have nothing to do with the recent earthquake in Turkey. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
Visuals showing the devastation caused by the deadly earthquake in Turkey & Syria are all around the internet. Amidst this, a video showing flock of birds flying strangely is also being shared, claiming it was shot before the earthquake hit on 06 February 2023. Multiple news agencies have also reported the video as it is going viral on social media, though the authenticity of the video is unverified (here, here & here).
However, the video shared in the viral post is not related to the recent earthquake in Turkey. A reverse image search of the screenshots of the viral video led us to a 2017 news report by Daily Mail. According to this report, the visuals show a flock of birds hovering erratically in the sky above a freeway in Houston. ‘A driver captured the creepy sight as the birds soared through a dark gray sky’, reported the article(here & here).
Through further search, we found that the video was initially shared by an Instagram user on 20 January 2017 and is geotagged to Houston, Texas. The description associated with the Instagram post indicates the video was licensed by Jukin Media, a California-based media company.
Earlier, when the same video was shared linking it to the Russia- Ukraine conflict, Associated Press clarified that the video is from Houston. All these establish that the viral visuals showing a flock of birds flying are old and not related to the recent earthquake in Turkey & Syria.
To sum it up, old visuals showing a flock of birds flying over a freeway in Houston are being shared linking them to the recent earthquake in Turkey.