A video said to show a sparrow reviving another unconscious sparrow has become a hit on social media, but experts are not so convinced.
The video purports to show a sparrow which had fainted from heat stroke being saved by another sparrow performing some kind of cardiac massage. It is said to be captured by a foreigner at a restaurant in Hangzhou.
Chinese netizens were greatly moved by the video and regarded it as an inspirational story, with one commenting, "as long as you don't give up, nothing is impossible." Some web users were also surprised to see the sparrows were as clever as human beings in their knowledge of CPR.
However, a reporter from Metropolitan Express, a local newspaper, soon discovered that the two birds also "showed up" in many other places across China, as the same video was shared online with a similar description, while claiming the incident happened in Shanghai, Changzhou, Nanjing and so on.
After searching for the source, the reporter found the video had been shared online as early as last year. It didn't go viral until v.ifeng.com shared it on July 22 and claiming "sparrows suffer from heat stroke as well!"
However, Fan Zhongyong, vice chairman of Zhejiang wild birds association, told the reporter on July 26 that sparrows are not smart enough to perform first aid on their companions.
Netizens' suggestions that the birds in the video were mating or that one had fainted after hitting the glass were also disputed by Fan, who said the two sparrows in the video were probably just fighting each other.
The loser lying on the ground was pretending to be dead, while the other bird was perhaps continuing his attack. "It's a common phenomenon," Fan added.