Birds Conundrum Solved at Last

tony leather By tony leather, 6th Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/14agg1gz/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Nature

It was in 1961 that disoriented seabirds, apparently dying were seen to be ramming themselves without apparent cause into Monterey Bay, California homes, creating a mystery for marine biologists.

Birds Conundrum Solved at Last


It was in 1963 that Alfred Hitchcock shocked the world with his release of that iconic film The Birds, in which crazed bird flocks attacked everything in sight, horrifying audiences world-wide. Yet it seems that his thriller was inspired by real-life events, just now worked out by scientists looking into the phenomenon
It was in 1961 that disoriented seabirds, apparently dying were seen to be ramming themselves without apparent cause into Monterey Bay, California homes, creating a mystery for marine biologists. Local visitor Hitchcock having recently read a Daphne du Maurier.story about spooky bird behaviour was intrigued

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University ocean environmentalist Sibel Bargu led a team investigating what we may dub the Case of the Poisoned Plankton. Stomach contents of 1961 gathered, Monterey Bay turtles and seabirds revealed that toxin-producing algae were present in 79% of the plankton eaten by these creatures.

In particular, it appeared, the leading plankton toxin was a nerve-destroying acid, in bird consumers leading to seizures, confusion and death, similar algae blooms having contaminated Canada's Prince Edward Island mussels in 1987, killing four people.

Those 1961 seabirds will possibly have ingested other sea-life that was full of these toxins, all 1961 symptoms displayed being extremely similar to later bird poisoning events in the same area. Plankton expert Raphael Kudela had said, in a 2008 report that the toxic acid was the likely culprit.

As it turns out, the leakage of waste from ruptured septic tank leaks may have been responsible for feeding the toxic algae, undoubtedly a Hitchcock-style twist, with the humans involved in installing those leaky septic tanks during a housing boom being at fault for poisoned birds plunging out of the sky.

Those tanks and that poisonous waste inspired the iconic movie maker to create one of the scariest films of all time, ranked among the American Film Institute's Top 10 thrillers of the last century and not an experience one could forget in a hurry.

The scariest thing is that it could very easily happen again, and the next time, the horrors that the film portrayed so chillingly might just become a nightmarish reality for some poor people somewhere. Polluters of the world take note, because nature always finds a way to pay you back.

Tags

Birds, Hitchcock, Motivation, Movie

Meet the author

author avatar tony leather
mainly non-fiction articles, though I do write short stories, poetry and descriptive prose as well. Have been writing for over ten years now

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author avatar Buzz
7th Apr 2012 (#)

Thanks, Tony, for this one.

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