6,000 Birds Found Dead

Cape Grisnez Lighthouse

I came across a morbidly funny article when reading through my week of the Egyptian Gazette. The title, “FATE OF 6,000 BIRDS” and to summarize the article briefly, after two nights of thick fog, nearly 6,000 birds were found dead under a lighthouse. They were attracted to the light in the fog and flew right against it. (The full article can be found in Page 4 of the Monday, December 18, 1905 issue of the Egyptian Gazette.) Not much else is mentioned in the article, it is a rather brief memorial. This struck me as being a unique article so I decided to share it. I did a quick search on the location of the lighthouse, “Cape Grisnez” and turns out this story takes place in France! Cape Grisnez is in northern France between Wissant and Audresselles. The cape held place to a naval battle during the Napoleonic Wars in 1805, and also would play a historical role in World War II. The lighthouse was built in 1837, originally standing 46 feet tall. In 1861, the lighthouse was raised to 79 feet tall.

Reading articles from the past makes the research more interesting, you read it from the perspective of the time frame it was written, but when investigating further you get a full picture that spans past the newspaper and through to present day. It just struck me funny how such a odd story could make international news, though granted the Egyptian Gazette was sold to an audience of mainly Europeans.

Lighthouse Digest, Cape Gris Nez France This Way, Cape Gris Nez University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lighthouses of France, North Coast

Will Hanley
Will Hanley
Associate Professor of History

I study the legal history of the Middle East and teach at Florida State University.