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Has The Mystery Behind Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Been Solved?

You may not know this, but Alfred Hitchock's 1963 horror classic The Birds was actually based on real events. In 1961, birds around Monterey Bay in California began to drop off and act disoriented, ramming into people's houses. Much like in the movie, the cause of this was completely unknown, but it was clear that something was going very, very wrong in the ecosystem. Now, half a century later, scientists believe that they may have found out the answer to the mystery.

Ocean environmentalist Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge has revealed that the birds' strange behavior could be attributed to plankton that had been poisoned and subsequently eaten by birds. Reported in USA Today (opens in new tab), the story says that researchers examined the stomach contents of various animals in the area in 1961 and found that 79% of plankton were infected with a toxin-producing type of alge that would cause nerve damage that led to "confusion, seizures and death. "I am pretty convinced that the birds were poisoned," said Bargu.

Call it cruel, but the article says that some of the poisoned plankton was discovered in the stomachs of turtles. Can you imagine if birds had been unaffected and Hitchcock had decided to make a movie about the slow moving reptiles instead? Something tells me that the result would have been far less dramatic and Tippi Hedren's screaming and panic would have been a lot less realistic. Now all we have to do is hope that nobody in Hollywood gets inspired to make a belated sequel.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.