More Fish Fall at Fulshear

More reports of falling fish have emerged from Fulshear, Texas.

A resident posted the following to a private Cross Creek Ranch facebook group on February 16:

“…last weekend we found back in our backyard some dead fish, (around 4) we don’t fish and we don’t live close to the lake, this morning I found another dead fish but this time in our patio I’m guessing is (sic) a kid’s prank. Our dog doesn’t even come close to the dead fish, he is too afraid of them. Any similar situation? One time is ok but I dislike to be picking up dead fish from my patio so I hope this doesn’t continue…”

I was able to contact the witness, who lives in the same general area as the earlier falls. She confirmed she had found several dead fish on February 14 in her backyard, then another the next day on her porch. They were larger than the original fall of fish, between 4 and 7 inches long, and looked pretty messed up. They also appear to be a different species to the ones that fell in January.

She shared the images below.


My first thought on reading the post and seeing the images was that these fish may have been disgorged by one of the species of waterbirds that live in the Cross Creek Ranch ponds and lakes. The damage to the fish and the blood suggest they had been partly digested. The witness confirmed there had been a large flock of White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) on the lakes for the last few weeks. Pelicans migrate to Texas in the winter from their northern breeding grounds.

Does this new case shed any light on the earlier Fulshear event? I think it shows birds, more specifically pelicans, as possible culprits. Pelicans feed as a group by sitting on the surface and scooping up schools of tiny fish. The fish that fell in January (threadfin shad) do school near the surface. Perhaps a feeding flock of pelicans, already suffering from the ice storm, scooped up a few dozen fish and headed south from the lakes, vomiting as they flew.

As I noted in an earlier post, not all the facts fit that rather messy scenario. Firstly, almost all of the January fish are undamaged, with little evidence of digestion, damage or blood. The area of the fall (half a mile by three quarters of a mile) also seems a problem. The idea of simultaneously vomiting pelicans roaming over Cross Creek does stretch the imagination.

Still, unless more facts emerge, birds would appear to be the most likely explanation for Fulshear’s falling fish.

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