Why Is It Raining Anchovies In San Francisco…?

Recently, anchovies have been falling from the sky in San Francisco, which was an incredibly rare and unbelievable sight. However, now scientists have gotten to the bottom of the mystery, at last.

Apparently, anchovies are currently experiencing a jump in population and as a result, the birds that see them as prey catch and eat them overhead. However, the birds are messy eaters and tend to drop a lot of leftovers.

“The anchovies are in pretty big numbers right now, and are pretty close to shore,” Whitney Grover, interim deputy director at the Golden Gate Audubon Society, told the SFGate.com. “So we’re experiencing a lot of these seabirds fishing, and then if they fly back over the land on the way to wherever they’re going, sometimes they drop fish.”

A Reddit user posted recently about how anchovies “rained down from the sky” onto a pal’s deck, meanwhile another person shared that they “almost got hit by a fish waiting for a bus.” Some people even thought “a band of roving kids were doing a Tik Tok sardine-throwing challenge on a roof somewhere” after they had seen fish hitting the sidewalk.

Researchers stated that the boom in the anchovy population has left birds with more fish than they can consume.

“I heard stories just last week from guys who said that the water out there was just covered with thousands of birds, and the birds were just sitting on the water with anchovies in their mouths because they can’t eat anymore,” Larry Collins, president of the San Francisco Community Fishing Association, told the outlet.

“Good news at least for fans of Caesar salads?!” tweeted Janet Hough.

“Found a pile of anchovies in the park one day,” tweeted Travis Gohr. “Now I know where they came from.”

The increased population is all thanks to a phenomenon called “upwelling,” which can be defined as a period where cold water packed with nutrients hits the surface of a body of water, thus attracting fellow members of the food chain.

“It’s just totally healthy ocean out there right now. I heard guys telling me about pelicans that, instead of diving to fill their mouths up, they’re just skimming the water and getting full mouths of anchovies,” Collins said.

“I could see them going to Ocean Beach and picking up some anchovies, then flying right over San Francisco and over the Castro to go into the bay,” Grover said.


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