Invasion of the Sooty Shearwater

On the night of August 17th, 1961, Santa Cruz, and the surrounding seaside communities within California’s Monterey Bay were invaded by hundreds of thousands of birds. The medium sized birds in the invasion were Sooty Shearwaters, a bird typically prevalent in the southern hemisphere. On the morning of the 18th, residents woke to thousands of the birds in their streets, driveways, on top of buildings and in yards. Scientist determined that the shearwater’s had become confused in the heavy fog of the night before and the birds were removed from the towns.

Director Alfred Hitchcock, who was working on an adaptation of the 1952 novel, “The Birds”, by Daphne du Maurier, took great interest in the story and finished his Academy Award winning film, “The Birds”, which first premiered in New York on March 28, 1963.