60 Years Ago This Week, Alfred Hitchcock’s Horror Classic birds (streaming on Peacock!) has been released. The story of how the film came to be is as bizarre as the events you see onscreen: The script, written by Evan Hunter, is based on the 1952 Daphne du Maurier horror of the same name as his story. , adapted from both the 1961 actual Bird Attacks.
Related: ‘birdsIt’s scary because it doesn’t explain anything.
Du Maurier’s story in her collection The Apple Tree: A Short Novel and Some Long Stories, sees a farmer and his family attacked by a vicious flock of killer birds. By the time the reader turns the last page, we know the attack isn’t limited to just this one farm of his. Some details differ between the book and the film, but there you can see the hollow bones of the story. I got
when birds attack
August 18, 1961 issue Santa Cruz Sentinel There was a headline: ‘Seabird invasion hits coastal home’. Written by Wally Trabing, the story tells of what is believed to be the attack of several thousand Sooty Shearwaters, a type of seabird, on two of his coastal towns early that morning.
Trabing wrote: In the predawn fog, the streets and roads were strewn with dead and fainted birds. Surprised by the invasion, residents took flashlights and ran out onto the lawn, saw birds flying toward the light, and hurried back inside their homes. “
After the article was published, the paper reportedly received a call from Hitchcock himself, requesting a copy of the issue. birds A hit theater set in the town of Bodega Bay, less than 150 miles from the coast where the actual bird attack occurred.somehow birds Whether art imitates life or vice versa is debatable.
At the time, there was some valid speculation as to what caused thousands of birds to run headlong into cars, homes and people, killing them instantly. Some thought that he had simply lost his way. But birds, especially seabirds, are well aware of poor visibility. If that’s the cause, we should spend more on bird defense insurance. That the birds might have been ill for some reason wasn’t really investigated until decades later.
hapless, flapless, and dead
In 2010, two scientists, Sibel Bargu and Ana Garcia, discovered toxic algae in areas of the open ocean. These algal blooms contained a diatom called Pseudo-nitzschia that produces a nasty little neurotoxin called domoic acid (DA). Pseudonitschia is also common in coastal areas where it is easy to enter the food chain.
Previous studies have suggested that one of the ways domoic acid may enter the food web is via krill. If Pseudo-nitzschia gathers a sufficiently large group, it can generate quite a lot of DA. It is then eaten by plankton and krill, eaten by smaller fish, eaten by larger fish, and eaten by seals and birds. By the time the toxin reaches far up the food chain, concentrations can be high enough to be fatal to unsuspecting predators.
In birds and mammals, DA causes confusion and disorientation. In severe cases, it can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Researchers wanted to know how these toxic algae were impacting the wider ecosystem. We checked whether we could find the presence of DA in food webs. Spikes appeared at multiple points, some of which corresponded to previously unexplained animal deaths. Suddenly, the toxic algae description started looking pretty solid, but it needed a firing gun, so to speak.
RELATED: ‘Psycho’ vs. ‘The Birds’: Here’s How These Two Hitchcock Horror Classics Stack Up
they found it. Phytoplankton samples from near Pleasure Point and Capitola, and from appropriate times, were swimming in domoic acid. Tests revealed that 79% of the plankton in the samples were contaminated with toxic algae. “I’m pretty sure the birds were poisoned,” Bargue said at the time.
The question is why the 1961 event was so much more dramatic than the bird and sea lion clashes that seem to have affected it since. We may never know for sure, but it seems that the severity of the 1961 “attack” had more to do with the type of animals affected than anything else.
The Sooty Shearwater is a dirty gull-like medium-sized seabird that embarks on migrations tens of thousands of miles long each year. Up to one million people are estimated to visit the area each year, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
There is power in numbers. Whether it’s embarking on his one migration in the world’s longest year or waging a futile war against humanity. In a flock, bird movement is defined by several key features. I want to be close to my neighbor, I want to avoid bumping into my neighbor, I want to mirror my neighbor’s movements as accurately as possible. These are the rules for safely navigating petrels from one point in their global flight path to the next.
These are also rules that, under the right (or wrong) conditions, can kill many birds at once. Thousands and thousands of birds ate together, flew together, lived together. Therefore, they also died together. The area was infested with toxic algae, and birds, unaware that the toxin had entered small animals and fish, happily devoured in preparation for their next long journey.
Sufficiently poisoned, they shot into the air. Confused, disoriented and sick, they did what they always did.They stuck together until the end. birds not a villain. They are the victims and we are the unfortunate supporting characters in their horror stories.
birds Currently streaming on Peacock.