Lifestyle & Human Interest

California Residents Experience Their Own Hitchcock Film When 800 Birds Suddenly Invade Their Home


If you saw hundreds of birds flying into your neighbor’s chimney, what would you do?

The sight on April 21 was so shocking to neighbors of one family in Torrance, California, that they called the number that came to mind first: 911.

“It’s so hard to explain,” Kerri, the owner of the infested  home, told KTLA-TV. “If you don’t see it with your own eyes, you’d never believe it.” (Kerri asked KTLA not to use her last name.)

The video is shocking: swarms of birds seeming to take a suicidal dive into the home’s chimney. But the birds were very much alive and very much became trapped inside her family’s home.

They didn’t seem interested in vacating, either.

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“They acted like they wanted to get out, but they wasn’t going nowhere,” said Patrick Belleville, a relative of the family. “They were just flying around, just everywhere, every room in the house, every bathroom.

“They were just beaming off my head.”

Unsure what to do, they called the sheriff. The sheriff then called animal control, whose only advice was to leave the doors open so the birds could fly out.

But that didn’t work.

There were hundreds of birds in every room. They flew everywhere, they left droppings everywhere, and when night came, they slept everywhere.

While the family has no idea how many birds they were dealing with, Kerri said, “We lost count after 800.”

The swarming was like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic movie “The Birds.”

With creatures in every nook and cranny of Kerri’s house, her family spent the night at a hotel. Belleville shuttled some of the birds out after trapping them inside a cardboard box, but it was a lot of work, and by the next evening there were still birds in the home.

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“The second night I actually woke up to a bird flapping in my room,” Kerri told KTLA. “So I basically just pulled the covers over my head and started screaming.”

The family was still trying to get rid of the swarm when KTLA showed the footage on Tuesday.

According to the outlet, it’s migration time in the area, and birds are looking for a new place to nest. Kerri’s family isn’t the only one dealing with the home-seeking animals, however.

John Honjiyo, a local bird-removal expert, said the area has been rife with bird annoyances lately, according to KTLA. He also strongly suggested that anyone wishing to avoid Kerri’s problem make sure their spark resisters haven’t rusted through and opened and that their chimney flue is closed.

Another family in Montecito, California, was almost the victim of a similar winged attack, but thankfully the doors on their fireplace were closed, trapping about 1,000 birds in their chimney, according to Montecito Fire.

When the birds wouldn’t simply fly back out of the open chimney, county animal services had to rig a safe chute through the house so that the fireplace doors could be opened and the birds safely escorted outside through the back door of the home.

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