The Day the Bird Died

It’s the 15th anniversary of that fateful day of Major League Baseball when a bird flew in the way of a Randy Johnson pitch and instantly exploded/vaporized.


Mourning Dove, like the one Randy Johnson hit

By derivative work: Snowmanradio (talk)Zenaida_macroura_-California-8.jpg: Don DeBold – originally posted to Flickr as Dove by Almaden Lake and uploaded to commons as Zenaida_macroura_-California-8.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0,


Newsweek asked some ornithologists for their thoughts on the incident.  The best one is in the conclusion:

There are many reasons why Mr. Johnson should not feel bad about this event. First, the mourning dove is one of the most common species in urban areas of Arizona and across the country, and it is not a species of conservation concern. So he didn’t impact the future of a species or anything like that. Second, although he did hit the bird outside of the dove season in Arizona, which happens in September, it is a game species, and there are plenty of hunters who wish they could get off such a clean shot. Third, millions of birds are killed each year by outside cats, glass windows, wind turbines, airplanes and other human-related problems. So in perspective, it is just an amazing coincidence that got caught on camera.