Amidst locusts attack in the different states of north India, we received a video on our Whatsapp verification helpline number with a claim that thousands of crows in Saudi descended on a supermarket and prevented the people from leaving.
The same video but with a different title, “Crows are not allowing customers to come out of the Super market in Saudi. Is it the beginning of the end of world?” has been circulating on Facebook and Twitter. It received over 700 retweets and around 161K views at the time of writing this factcheck.
The video shows a large number of black birds flying above and around a supermarket. This video claims to be shot in Saudi Arabia recently.
By performing a keyword search on Youtube, we found a two-minute fifty-second video posted on the verified Youtube channel ViralHog. In its description it said that the incident occurred on 6 December, 2016 in Carrollton, Texas, USA. The description also included the following note:
“I left H-mart and was returning to my car with groceries. I noticed the birds were very noisy as I was leaving, but the sky wasn’t filled with them as bad as shown in the video. I got to my car while some people waiting at the entrance of the building watching. They were smart for waiting because in the next minute, my car got pooped on big time. As you can see, the area filled with birds very quickly. Apparently, these are blackbirds and they gather just as the sun goes down. I don’t know the exact scientific reason for it, but there is one and it happens often. I remember seeing groups of birds like this a lot when I was younger, but it was never ever this many!”
By watching the video we received frame-by-frame we found several similarities with the video posted on ViralHog on 17 April, 2020. In order to verify the location mentioned on ViralHog, we performed a Google Street View search using the key word ‘H-mart Carrollton” and found that the video had the same store serial number as shown on Google street view. See screenshots below.
You can see the store serial number (2625) on the top right corners of the building shown in the images.
As per our research, we can establish that the viral video of black birds swarming a supermarket in Saudi is misleading. In reality, this video is from a 2016 incident that took place at a supermarket, H-Mart, in Carrollton, Texas, USA.
- Google Street View
- Twitter Advanced Search
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