Denver UFOs: Bugs outsmart aviation expert (Updated)

Wow is this taken WAY too seriously by the news reporter. So seriously, that they missed an extremely obvious explanation.

Mile High mystery: UFO sightings in sky over Denver |

It’s a mile high mystery in the skies over Denver.

Strange objects caught on camera flying over the city and nobody can explain it.

We first learned about these sightings when a metro area man, who does not want to be identified brought us his home video. He captured the images on his digital camera from a hilltop in Federal Heights looking south toward downtown Denver.

He said, “The flying objects appear around noon or 1:00 p.m. at least a couple of times a week.” The strangest part is they are flying too fast to see with the naked eye, but when we slowed down the video, several UFOs appear.

Aviation expert Steve Cowell is a former commercial pilot, instructor and FAA accident prevention counselor.

He thought he would have a logical explanation, until he watched the video. “That is not an airplane, that is not a helicopter, those are not birds, I can’t identify it,” he said. He also told us the objects are not insects.


“NOBODY CAN EXPLAIN IT!” Really? They’re bugsinsects! Set up two cameras side by side and triangulate the distance to the object. Clearly they consulted a man in the wrong profession. Get someone who has studied UFOs. Or an entomologist!


UPDATE (16-Nov-2012) Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society for looking into this and pretty much confirming these are very terrestrial, rather small, flying objects.

Hat Tip: Douglas Boyle who also thinks it bugs.

  50 comments for “Denver UFOs: Bugs outsmart aviation expert (Updated)

  1. Anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    If only they said WHY it’s not a bug.. *sigh*

  2. Douglas Boyle
    November 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    There’s plenty of news outlets in Denver and this only made it to one. I’m sure the guy sent it around to others before someone bit. They also admit to having to adjust the image to make it more clear, which really is the same as saying we didn’t see anything either until we made it look like something. Glorious.

  3. jryan
    November 9, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Maybe because it’s November and if you lived in mountains a mile high you would know that there are no bugs flying.

  4. November 9, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Really? There are plenty of weirdoes in Denver (and elsewhere) but in all honesty this is the first I have heard of this. I have been an observer, educator and sometimes writer about things like this for more than 30 years in Denver, and KDVR is certainly not where most people go for their news. Clearly these folks don’t have a clue about this and as you say, it unquestionably was the result of bugs. This is really very minor, and I suspect just the result of a single reporter or writer who has not idea what he or she is talking about. But sometimes it is worse. Sebveral years ago we had some guy trying to get an official city commission on “extraterrestrial affairs.” (

    Decades ago when I dealt with Denver TV stations fairly regularly, we had “private” mottos for the stations. At that time I don’t think KDVR even existed, but the equivalent station (still around) was just as bad. We gave it the motto, which seems to fit here as well, of “If its news, it’s news to us!”

  5. Vin
    November 9, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    “chooow chooow chooow!” … his sound effects….

  6. November 9, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    According to the weather in Denver there are still some warm days to be had, especially at 12-1 in the afternoon when the sun is warm. Bees will still be out for the fall flowers. It’s not winter yet.

  7. Curious Skeptic
    November 9, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    In regards to bugs, I live in Denver and spend a lot of time outdoors. My neighborhood has been devoid of flying insects for over a month. Last weekend I had brunch outside near the zoo and was overwhelmed by bees and wasps. At this time of year it really depends on where you’re located. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the local insect ecology where this was filmed.

  8. November 10, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    Heck…it’s 4am in Denver now and nearly 50 degrees.

  9. November 10, 2012 at 5:46 AM

    I think I saw sasquatch on that video!

  10. Doug T
    November 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I live at 84th and Pecos, about a block away from when this video was shot. I have seen a few moths lately, maybe a bee or two but nothing like this. Could be bugs I guess I’ll have to go check it out with a few cameras. Snow today tho. Bad for UFOs.

  11. November 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I spend a lot of time outdoors as well and in the past week I have seen a good number of insects from yellowjackets to grasshoppers to little uknown flying thingies. It is not at all unusual to see a few flying bugs on exceptionally warm days even in the middle of winter.

  12. Douglas Boyle
    November 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Unidentified flying Blobject.

  13. Curious Skeptic
    November 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    This weekends snow and below freezing temperatures should take care of the local bug population. Monday is looking good for cameras!

  14. November 10, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    yes let’s see if there are more UFOs as winter really hits. It’s becoming almost boring how many UFO videos are of bugs these days. Bugs also can be mistaken for ghosts! The other questions, why is no one SEEING these objects in the sky? When a UFO only shows up on camera, and no one sees them, it’s one clue it’s bugs or some smaller object.

  15. November 10, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Also, sorry but the arm of “the man” is VERY VERY HAIRY!!! Oh my gosh, he appears to be not wearing a shirt.

  16. November 10, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    You are observant, Kitty. Maybe TOO much so.

  17. November 11, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    The freeze frame shots of this object or objects show something that has a shape and metallic sheen that does not look to me like a bug. But the motion does seem bug-like to me. These are not tight, high resolution images. Weak camera shots can fool us. If I had to bet money on it I would bet that these things are indeed bugs. In any case I don’t reckon Brian Williams will be taking a plane to Denver any time soon.

  18. November 12, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Well, I’m just back on a walk with the dogs and while I wasn’t really thinking about bugs, I can say for certain that I saw at least one grasshopper sunning himself. I would doubt the purported UFOs were grasshoppers, but it is a far smaller leap to assume that they were insects of some sort rather than to assume that they are alien spacecraft or some kind of new and unknown phenomena completely overlooked by science.

  19. Chew
    November 13, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Which is why the reporter is only wearing a shirt. Oh wait.

  20. Jammer
    November 14, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Show me a bug that travels consistently in perfectly straight lines with very consistent velocity and has a shiny silver appearance. I don’t think you can. But on the other hand, I’m pretty sure this isn’t extra-terrestrial. Could it be a small military drone?

  21. Chew
    November 14, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    The lines are anything but perfectly straight. One bug makes a 150° turn. Most of the video is so zoomed in the bugs appear for only a dozen or so frames so it’s easy for a bug to travel straight for such a short distance. The metallic sheen is a video artifact.

  22. November 14, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Ben Radford summarizes.

    I’m glad to say we called this immediately and before anyone else. Thanks, Chew.

  23. Chew
    November 14, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Fish in a barrel.

    Well, the Mythbusters tested shooting fish in a barrel. It’s a lot harder than you’d think. They had to use a mini-gun. But you get the idea.

  24. Douglas Boyle
    November 15, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Another follow up article…a little late but same kind of conclusion,this time from a UFO guy

  25. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 15, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Agreed Larry, so let’s examine one of the key elements of information provided about this object and ask the question; Which insect is capable of flying faster than the human eye can see?

  26. Chew
    November 15, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    What the reporter said is not what the video shows. You can see the bugs zipping through the frame when the video is played at normal speed.

  27. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 16, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Yes, and the reporter said that the object wasn’t visible until slowing down the frames considerably. So the bugs zipping through the frame when the video is played at normal speed is what I would expect to see. I would not expect to see a bug flying so fast that it isn’t visible until slowing the frames down.

  28. Chew
    November 16, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    The first time they show the video of the bugs they showed it at normal speed and you can see the bugs.

  29. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Yes, I’m agreeing with you on that point.

  30. November 16, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    here’s why it isn’t a bug. two different camera crews, dummy

  31. Chew
    November 16, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Two different cameras filmed on two different days. If they had filmed side by side at the exact same time with the exact same field of view then the distance to the objects could be figured out. But that was not done.

  32. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 16, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    Yes, the distance is another issue. It is unlikely a bug would get big enough to get picked up on camera at that distance. The distance is unknown but obviously several hundred feet, if not a few thousand feet away. Bugs would be too small at that distance and I doubt if the news crew is intentionally trying to get us to buy off on the fact that they are really just hiding a bug that is really big and flies faster than human sight can detect. I don’t necessarily buy the UFO theory but am pretty sure it is not a bug base on the evidence provided thus far.

  33. Richard Cornford
    November 16, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    Where are you getting the “obviously several hundred feet, if not a few thousand feet away”? I didn’t see anything that could be used to estimate the range of the object.

  34. Chew
    November 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    The objects are out of focus while the background is in focus. That means the objects are closer than the hyperfocal distance.

  35. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 16, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    If you review the video you will see a shot where it flies close to a cloud and see the reflection of the sun shine on the object and then darkens once underneath the cloud. Do bugs flying next to a camera exhibit that behaviour?

  36. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    To further explain what I’m getting at is that a reflection off of an object between noon and 1pm would have the sun shining near its highest point in the day. A bug flying right in front of the camera will not reflect light from the sun and then darken when flying under a cloud at the distance right in front of the camera. For the object’s reflection to change at that distance, at that speed, it seems to me it can’t be a bug. Off course we need more concrete data to prove the distance but just explaining that is what I based my original estimate on.

  37. November 16, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Get multiple cameras triangulate and estimate the launch area then multiple cameras can be placed to get a much closer higher resolution video of the debris, bugs, or ufo.

  38. ed
    November 16, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    I saw a program on TV that debunked this. They are moths, not miller moths smaller ones. When they fly their wings make the sheen and the object changes shades of light. The other aspect is the camera’s they use. The camera is not able to focus on the object so it exageratates the image between 2 focal zones. The manuafactures of the recording equipment (Japanes Engineers) went into detail and recreated the images and explained the limitations of the cameras. The news team camera is also unable to capture the image real time because the moths move so fast. I cant remember the name of the program but it dealt with UFO’s appearing as rods and floating through the sky appearing as a pulsating supersonic UFO. Hope that helps.

  39. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 16, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Hmm, seems plausible. The folks in that area should get the multiple cameras setup to verify given that there seems to be a time frame that it usually appears. Of course if it is some human shooting projectiles out of a potato gun or something then they may quit due to the attention its getting.

  40. Joel Cook
    November 17, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    At the 1:06 mark in the video, the voiceover mentions “a burst of fire.” So these bugs are on fire? Wouldn’t a bug on fire burn up fast and disappear?

  41. Seeminly Skeptic
    November 17, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    I believe that portion of the video was taken by the guy who submitted it to the news agency. I’m not sure that one can be entirely trusted (not that the news is entirely trustworthy). But I wouldn’t suspect the news to doctor the video to aid the appearance of a thruster. The guy who submitted the video may not have altered it either but we would need more independent video to be sure.

  42. November 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    OOH this is getting exciting. Rocky Mountain Paranormal RS was on site today investigating. THAT’S what I’m talking about! I’ll be sure to bring you the scoop.

  43. Joseph
    November 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Whoa…down-sizing and budget cuts are affecting even the aliens!!!!! Smaller, more efficient vehicles….yayyyy!!!!

  44. Richard Cornford
    November 18, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Thank for answering my question. It is always good to know the rationale for that type of conclusion.

    One thing I noticed from the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society article linked to in the update to the story above is that it suggests that the camera is pointing (more or less) due south. As you say, between noon and 1pm the sun can be expected to be as high in the sky as it is going to get, it is also going to (more or less) due south for an observer in the northern hemisphere. Thus the camera is looking towards the sun, and since it is not visible/apparent in the video image I presume that it is just above the frame of the video (we are only about a month short of winter solstice so even at midday the sun will not be anywhere close to being overhead at 40 degrees north). Which wouldn’t bode well for the idea of an object becoming significantly more brightly illuminated as a result of coming out from under a cloud, because the camera would still be looking at near and under side of the object, which would be the side shaded from the sun by the object itself.

    Looking over the video again I did see the objects changing brightness. Personally I didn’t read that as relating the presence or position of the clouds, but I can see how that might be argued. My main problem with doing so, or reading anything much from small fast moving blobs on a video screen is knowing that we are watching a video that has been through a lossey video compression algorithm at least twice (once just prior to the data being transferred to the video camera’s storage medium (assuming all the cameras involved were digital) and once in preparing the broadcast video for distribution over broadband). Those algorithms can be expected to produce a result that is around 10% of the size that equivalent raw frame data would have been, and they are geared towards maintaining the quality of human perception at normal playback speeds. They will tend to throw away the detail that a human observer could not hope to notice, so if its small (in the frame) and fast moving that becomes an excellent candidate for omitting detail. And then on top of that they introduce compression artifacts, which you wouldn’t normally notice at normal playback speeds, but if you freeze frame and/or zoom in they can become noticeable. The detailed examination of this video in this way is playing into all of the worst aspects of current digital video technology, and I wouldn’t be that surprised if there was zero actual data remaining at the level of the individual blobs.

  45. November 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Life’s Little Mysteries quotes a cinematographer. Bugs are a problem. Yes, these are bugs.

    Rocky Mountain PRS said the place was crawling with people this past weekend. They also found… bugs. I’ll post more when they release their report.

  46. November 21, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    It’s so ridiculously obvious that the objects in the video are bugs, I find it strange that anyone’s even debating the issue. The “expert” in the newscast never says they’re not bugs. He conveniently avoids saying that. It’s the clueless reporter that says they’re not bugs. The Rocky Mountain Paranormal RS actually spending time testing these claims just seems silly. And consulting a cinematographer to tell you the objects are bugs would be like me consulting a world class ophthalmologist to tell me that I have two eyes.

  47. November 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    I understand that it’s hard to believe but they ACTUALLY did say no way it could be bugs. There are several comments that I did not post here that pretty much called us idiots for thinking there could be bugs there in October/November. But bugs there were. I think Rocky Mountain PRS did a good job to respond to that ridiculous reporter.

  48. November 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Yet, in a follow-up, they did consult an entomologist who said that in her expert opinion, it wasn’t bugs. I guess it’s best to believe whatever confirms your own opinions, whatever that may be.

  49. November 26, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Right as you posted this, I did this as an update. 🙂 see front page.

  50. December 2, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    This is just a brief follow up for anyone who argues that you do not see flying bugs in Denver in November. Well, today is Sunday, December 2, and I can claim without any hesitation at all that this morning at 9:07 a.m. I clearly saw a flying bug in Denver. Granted, it has been exceptionally warm (the temperature according to my outdoor thermometer at the time was 48 degrees F), but it was warm in November as well. The idea, well taken in my opinion, that this phenomena was the result of flying insects, can clearly not be written off due to the time of year.

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