Last Update: 28 Mar 2021
6. Labor: The Stymphalian Birds
As the sixth labor, Heracles was charged with driving out the Stymphalian Birds. The Stymphalian birds were cannibalistic creatures with bronze beaks, claws, and feathers so sharp that they hurled them like arrows at their enemies. They lived on the shores of a lake called Stymphalia in Arcadia, in a deep forest to hide from the beasts.
As Heracles pondered how to chase them away, the wise goddess Athena came to his aid and gave the hero bronze castanets, forged in the workshop of the blacksmith Hephaistos. Heracles rattled the castanets on a hill by the lake and the birds, unable to bear the noise, flew up in fright, making it easy for the hero to destroy them with his arrows. According to a myth, some of the birds managed to escape, but they had become so frightened that they flew far and never appeared in the area again.