San Francisco

Fish Falling From the Sky in SF? There's an Explanation

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People on social media have claimed fish have been falling from the sky in San Francisco. Turns out, there’s a scientific explanation.

“It’s an amazing thing, it is raining fish, it’s raining a few anchovies at least and we have seen that happen before in 2017,” said Bill Keener with the Marine Mammal Center.

A blast of cold water off the coast has led to a boom in the number of anchovies moving along the coast and into the bay, making it a buffet for birds.

“There is more oxygen in it and certain fish like the anchovy, love that there is a lot of food for the anchovies, and the anchovies are really near shore right now so it's easy for the birds to pick them of the water and fly inland and sometimes they drop them,” said Keener. 

Whitney Grover, of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, said there could also be another factor.

Something strange is happening in San Francisco and along the coasts -- fish are falling from the sky, really. NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Bill Keener of the Marine Mammal Center for some insight.

“We have a bunch of species of birds that eat fish,” she said. “Birds are breeding and so instead of just being out in the ocean and eating the fish immediately there are a lot of species that are carrying fish back to their young right now so that might be the reason that some of it is getting dropped,” she said.

And Keener says it’s not just birds getting in on the action.

“Off our coast there are gray whales, whales we have been watching them off Pacifica feeding really close to the shore.”

He said he doesn't expect it to last much longer. As waters warm, the anchovies will die off or move on.

But till then, keep an eye out because fish may be falling from the sky. 

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