Underground Birds

Amergin

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Okay so this is one of those “friend of a friend” down the pub stories, but please bear with me...

A former work colleague - must be ten years retired now - who was not given to tall yarns and silliness, told me an interesting tale...

He is a Darlington man born and bred and he has frequented the same local for many years. The pub is patronised by a traditional older crowd of similarly retired regulars. One fellow, much older than my colleague, used to work for many years down the mines that extend out under the North Sea.
My colleague was flummoxed by a story this fellow used to relay, quite matter-of-factly, about an occasional but not too uncommon occurrence, when the mine works would break through into otherwise sealed voids in the bedrock (we are talking large airy chambers, not little pockets or fractures).
This old chap remarked it was curious that these “sealed” voids often contained breathable air, and occasionally they were found to be inhabited by birds which appeared habituated to life in that location.
Apparently he was not able to provide any more details on the type or appearance of the birds, or indeed the size of these imprisoned avian populations, just that it was something quite well-known amongst the local mining community. It was considered peculiar, but a frequent enough event that it was not considered astonishing or worth publicising more widely.
I have always hoped to find out more about this, but I have lost touch with my colleague and so I am unable to track down the original source of the tales (or indeed if he is even still alive).

I would love to know if anyone else has heard of similar stories?
 

escargot

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Okay so this is one of those “friend of a friend” down the pub stories, but please bear with me...

A former work colleague - must be ten years retired now - who was not given to tall yarns and silliness, told me an interesting tale...

He is a Darlington man born and bred and he has frequented the same local for many years. The pub is patronised by a traditional older crowd of similarly retired regulars. One fellow, much older than my colleague, used to work for many years down the mines that extend out under the North Sea.
My colleague was flummoxed by a story this fellow used to relay, quite matter-of-factly, about an occasional but not too uncommon occurrence, when the mine works would break through into otherwise sealed voids in the bedrock (we are talking large airy chambers, not little pockets or fractures).
This old chap remarked it was curious that these “sealed” voids often contained breathable air, and occasionally they were found to be inhabited by birds which appeared habituated to life in that location.
Apparently he was not able to provide any more details on the type or appearance of the birds, or indeed the size of these imprisoned avian populations, just that it was something quite well-known amongst the local mining community. It was considered peculiar, but a frequent enough event that it was not considered astonishing or worth publicising more widely.
I have always hoped to find out more about this, but I have lost touch with my colleague and so I am unable to track down the original source of the tales (or indeed if he is even still alive).

I would love to know if anyone else has heard of similar stories?

It rings a bell, in the sense of hearing a similar story. A version I read many years ago was that on breaking into the seam of coal with a pickaxe, a miner would sometimes seem to free a living bird (or sometimes an animal like a toad) from the very rock.
 

Richyboyo

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Okay so this is one of those “friend of a friend” down the pub stories, but please bear with me...

A former work colleague - must be ten years retired now - who was not given to tall yarns and silliness, told me an interesting tale...

He is a Darlington man born and bred and he has frequented the same local for many years. The pub is patronised by a traditional older crowd of similarly retired regulars. One fellow, much older than my colleague, used to work for many years down the mines that extend out under the North Sea.
My colleague was flummoxed by a story this fellow used to relay, quite matter-of-factly, about an occasional but not too uncommon occurrence, when the mine works would break through into otherwise sealed voids in the bedrock (we are talking large airy chambers, not little pockets or fractures).
This old chap remarked it was curious that these “sealed” voids often contained breathable air, and occasionally they were found to be inhabited by birds which appeared habituated to life in that location.
Apparently he was not able to provide any more details on the type or appearance of the birds, or indeed the size of these imprisoned avian populations, just that it was something quite well-known amongst the local mining community. It was considered peculiar, but a frequent enough event that it was not considered astonishing or worth publicising more widely.
I have always hoped to find out more about this, but I have lost touch with my colleague and so I am unable to track down the original source of the tales (or indeed if he is even still alive).

I would love to know if anyone else has heard of similar stories?
Do you mind if I share the link to this account on my Mystery Bird Reports Facebook group?
 
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