During season 18 of Deadliest Catch, the F/V saga was briefly swarmed by a flock of king eiders (a species of duck with a unique and colorful beak) when the ship’s lights confused the birds, causing large numbers of them to climb the mast to crack (via YouTube). Captain Jake Anderson watched helplessly as the birds kept banging against his mast. However, he could not turn off his lights, otherwise he ran the risk of colliding with another ship in the dark.
Even the birds that didn’t crash into the mast caused problems for the ship, as the surviving majority of the flock settled on the Saga’s deck. Sailors were forced to remove these unwelcome visitors while also surveying the immense damage the ship’s mast had suffered in this herd attack. The birds eventually destroyed several lights and ripped out a tidy length of wire that Anderson estimated would cost over $16,000 to repair.
Given that this whole ordeal only lasted about 10 minutes, it’s extremely unfortunate that this bizarre bird attack ended up costing so much money. In any case, the incident served as an important reminder that there are many things to consider in the unpredictable waters of the Bering Sea.