The Stymphalian Birds, Hercules(Heracles) Fifth labor

The Stymphalian Birds belonged to Ares, the God of war, who raised them to be vicious, man-eating beasts. They terrorized the countryside of Lake Stymphalia in Arcadia, destroying crops and animals with their bronzed beaks, iron claws, razor metallic feathers and toxic dung.

The birds were of Arabic origin and resembled the ibis. They nested in a marsh that was difficult to get to and bred at such an uncontrollable rate that they threatened to overtake Arcadia. Heracles initially assumed the labor would be easy but once he arrived at the marsh, he realized that his weight wouldn’t hold under the swampy ground. It didn’t help that the surrounding forest was so thick, he could barely see or move through the dense branches and leaves.

Frustrated, Heracles was forced to retreat and consider other strategies to rid the region of these vicious beasts. Noticing his plight, Athena offered to help. She asked Hephaestus, the God of blacksmiths, to create a rattle that would send out a tremendous sound.

Heracles was grateful for Athena’s services and Hephaestus’ handiwork. He climbed a hill near Lake Stymphalia and using all his mighty strength; he began to furiously shake the rattle. The loud noise startled the birds and they flew out of the marsh into the open air. Heracles began to shoot as many as he could with his poisonous arrows. Heracles retrieved the birds he’d slain to bring back to King Eurystheus to prove that he had successfully completed his labor. Those who managed to flee migrated to an island in the Black Sea that was sacred to Ares. Never again did they return to Arcadia.

The Labors

Will add details soon....

  1. The Nemean Lion
  2. The Hydra
  3. The Erymanthian Boar
  4. The Ceryneian Hind
  5. The Stymphalian Birds
  6. The Augean Stables
  7. The Cretan Bull
  8. The Horses of Diomedes
  9. The Amazon Girdle
  10. The Cattle of Geryon
  11. Cerberus
  12. The Apples of the Hesperides