Until a few days ago, I had no idea that Alfred Hitchcock had such a connection to Santa Cruz County. My co-worker Jason Hoppin shared an article from MSNBC with me that discusses the crazed bird frenzies that inspired Hitchcock’s classic film, “The Birds.”
And lo and behold, it turns out that an incident in Capitola that helped inspire him may have been caused by toxic algae that was sickening birds. It’s an interesting piece, but what’s even cooler to me is that Hitchcock himself called the Sentinel offices for more information when the frenzy occurred back in 1961.
On Aug. 18, 1961, a local newspaper reported that thousands of crazed seabirds were sighted on the shores of North Monterey Bay in California. The birds, called sooty shearwaters, regurgitated anchovies, flew into objects and died on the streets.
Hitchcock lived in the region, and called the newspaper, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, for more information, according to Sibel Bargu, a biological oceanographer at Louisiana State University and one of the study researchers.
The frenzy helped inspire Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller “The Birds,” which was adapted from a short story by Daphne du Maurier. In the movie, flocks of birds attack and kill residents in a community on the California coast.