The Internet is Going Wild Over This Pterodactyl Photo Captured by a Man Walking Through a Nature Preserve

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Nov 06, 2023

Paul Squires, a father and nature enthusiast from the United Kingdom, recently discovered something remarkable: a photo he had taken that appeared to be of a flying dinosaur. The photo in question was taken in the Spade Oak Nature Reserve, one of Squires’ common walking spots.

In the Spade Oak Nature Reserve, animals are allowed to roam freely. This gave Squires the perfect opportunity to snap photos of typically elusive creatures during his 3-hour walk through the park.

Keep From Overreacting

Squires, as it turns out, is a hobbyist wildlife photographer. So, whenever he goes out for nature walks, he is sure to bring his camera, ready to capture whatever catches his fancy.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

But as far as this flying dinosaur matter is concerned, even Squires didn’t know when the shot was taken. He posted the picture online to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating, and some of his followers acknowledged it looked like a Pterodactyl.

A Second Look Reveals the Truth

Interestingly, after having a second look, Squires concluded that the flying animal he snapped was not a Pterodactyl after all.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Red Kites have made a bird haven out of the Spade Oak Nature Reserve, and there are a sizable number of them there. So, after a little more research, Squiresʼ chance sighting of a Pterodactyl turned out to be a mirage. What he did capture was a picture of a flying Red Kite bird.

What are Pterodactyls?

Pterodactyls were members of the dinosaur family of flying reptiles. Unlike the feathered birds we have today, Pterodactyls possessed wings similar to those of a bat—consisting largely of skin, muscle, and bony frames.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pterodactyls were carnivores, and were projected to have lived during the Jurassic period, some 14 million years ago. Fossilized remains of Pterodactyls have been found in Bavaria and some parts of Africa.

Internet: 1, Pterodactyl: 0

Although Squires’ picture was not of a flying Pterodactyl, he was pleased with the attention it got online.

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Source: Paul Squires/ Facebook

Squires said his faux Pterodactyl picture received the highest number of views and reactions of all the wildlife pictures he’s posted online. What do you see in Squires’ picture, the head of a Pterodactyl or the tail of a Red Kite?

Another Alleged Pterodactyl Sighting?

TikTok user @robchicago1 posted a video in March of a creature standing on top of a building in Chicago.

Source: @robchicago1/ TikTok

The avian-looking creature with a long neck and long beak stood still on a rooftop, and the TikToker thought it could be a pterodactyl. However, others are simply dismissing it as a crane.

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Connected To Legend

With flying dinosaur sightings becoming more frequent, some believe the creature that the TikToker saw is a surviving pterosaur.

Source: Whit Richardson/ Alamy

According to Native American legend, these enormous winged creatures are known as thunderbirds. So — what do skeptics have to say about the sighting?

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It Could Be A Rare Crane Species

According to skeptics, the creature could simply be a large and rare species of crane. Before European colonialization, the whooping crane population only had an estimated 10,000 cranes.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These birds are huge – standing at around five feet in human height, with a wingspan of over seven feet. Thus, the bird could be much larger when spotted from a distance.

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The Whooping Crane's Existence Is Threatened

It’s not too late to save the whooping crane from near extinction. There is one company working to reverse extinction completely – a bioscience company called Colossal.

Source: omgtoptens.com

The company is attempting to genetically engineer new populations of animals, such as woolly mammoths and the dodo bird.

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Putting The Theory To Rest

TikTok commenters aren’t buying the whole pterodactyl thing. Most of them have clarified that it’s a window-washing crane (and not an actual bird).

Source: @robchicago1/ TikTok

Despite the more realistic explanation for what TikToker @robchicago1 saw, believers will still believe.

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Yet Another Sighting - This Time In Idaho

In 2015, a man in Boise, Idaho, captured a video of what looked like a pterodactyl flying in the sky.

Source: Rumble Viral/ YouTube

People all over the globe were buzzing over this footage of something resembling a prehistorical animal. But – was all the fuss worth it?

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People Are Divided

Even though the pterodactyl is extinct, that doesn’t stop people from believing they could still be out there. Most people who commented on the YouTube video were skeptical.

Source: Rumble Viral/ YouTube

Naturally, there are skeptics. One person commented: “The wing flap looks unnatural, too stiffy, looks more like an rc plane or some type of toy.” Another person speculated: “That may be a drone.”

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Believers Shared Their Firsthand Encounters

While there is a chance the video could be faked, the number of people who shared their firsthand accounts of seeing a similar type of animal is quite astonishing.

Source: Rumble Viral/ YouTube

One person said: “I saw the exact same thing in 1991. I was fishing on the Salmon River along the Van Duzer corridor in a very isolated stretch when it came flying overhead from behind me. It’s wingspan was about 15-20 feet and was maybe 30 feet above me.”

Another person shared: “The gliding of that “bird” is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, I remember seeing strange looking creatures like that in Spokane Washington.”

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North Carolina Has Become A Hot Spot For Sightings

North Carolina has been home to many legends such as Bigfoot, the Lake Norman Monster, and Lizardmen. But, pterosaur (flying reptiles) sightings have been on the rise recently.

Source: charlottestories.com

Cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb published an article about these prehistoric creatures, including recent pterodactyl sightings. He revealed: “My associates and I believe that these are non-extinct pterosaurs, what many persons would call ‘pterodactyls’ or ‘flying dinosaurs.'”

Some people on the r/Cryptozoology Reddit channel are taking what Whitcomb said with a grain of salt.

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Firing Back At Whitcomb's Statement

u/ Goliathprime offers their insights into Whitcomb’s statement. They said: “Of course, it must be acknowledged that Jonathan Whitcomb was the source, the champion of the African “Ropen.” The Ropen has been discredited as its physical form, feeding habits, and size all stem from old, turn-of-last-century, pterodactyl reconstructions, as well as mixing and matching different species together.”

Source: depositphotos.com

They continued, saying: “Still, large, unknown flying creatures have been seen across the world for years and it looks like people are still seeing something. But if I had to guess the identity of these flying dinosaurs? Knowing it’s North Carolina and it’s winter? Probably Tundra Swans.”

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