Hundreds of birds swoop down through chimney of California home

‘We lost count after 800’: Hitchcock movie comes to life after hundreds of migrating birds swoop down through the chimney and swarm around inside a family’s California home

  • More than 800 birds shot down the chimney of a family home in Torrance
  • Video footage shows the birds flying in the house with scores lining the windows
  • Home owner Kerri said she and her family had come home from dinner to find the birds flying everywhere 

A California family’s home was overrun by more than 800 migrating birds in a scene similar to that of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds. 

Video footage shows the flock performing murmurations above the house before hundreds shoot down the chimney of the family’s house in Torrance. 

The birds, which appear to be swifts, can be seen flying inside the house, with scores lining the windows as they fluttered manically.

Home owner Kerri said she and her husband and child came home from dinner last Wednesday to find the birds flying all over their house.

Kerri, who did not provide her surname, told KLTA: ‘It’s so hard to explain. If you don’t see it with your own eyes, you’d never believe it.

‘We lost count after 800.’ 


A California family’s home was overrun by more than 800 migrating birds in a scene similar to that of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds


Video footage shows the flock performing murmurations above the house before hundreds shoot down the chimney of the family’s house in Torrance


The birds, which appear to be swifts, can be seen flying inside the house which some hanging from the ceiling

As the birds flocked into their house, they were seen flying around in every room with some hanging from the ceiling. 

Kerri she called the Carson Sheriff’s office who put Kerri in contact with county animal control officials. 

The officials said she should just leave the doors open – but the birds were not flying away – so Kerri called in her relative Patrick Belleville to help out. 

‘They acted like they wanted to get out, but they wasn’t going nowhere,’ Patrick said. ‘They were just flying around, just everywhere, every room in the house, every bathroom.’

Patrick even had to pull his hood up and put a mask on to protect himself from the swirling flock. ‘They were just beaming off my head,’ he said. 

After a few hours, the birds ended up falling asleep and were seen hanging from the ceiling.  

Video footage shows Patrick catching birds which were perched inside before placing them in a cardboard box. He is then seen releasing them outside as the small black birds fly off.  

The birds can be seen lining the windows as they fluttered manically inside the California home

After a few hours, the birds ended up falling asleep and were seen hanging from the ceiling


Video footage shows Patrick catching birds which were perched inside before placing them in a cardboard box (left). He is then seen releasing them outside as the small black birds fly off (right)

Kerri, her husband and their child stayed in a hotel while Patrick tried to release all of the birds. 

But despite Patrick’s best efforts, the invasion lasted a few days. 

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

The flock also left multiple presents for the owners in the form of bird droppings. 

‘You couldn’t walk in any spot in the living room, the kitchen and the hallway without stepping on bird droppings,’ Kerri said. 


The flock also left multiple presents for the owners in the form of bird droppings

The invasion comes as a home further up the coast in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, was also hit by an onslaught of birds.

Around 1,000 birds became trapped in the chimney on Sunday night, the Montecito fire department said. They had hoped the flock would fly up and out of the chimney on their own overnight. 

But when the fire department returned to the house on Monday, the birds were still trapped at the base of the fireplace. 

The invasion comes as a home further up the coast in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, was also hit by an onslaught of birds. Around 1,000 birds became trapped in the chimney on Sunday night, the Montecito fire department said

Santa Barbara County Animals Services worked throughout the day to design a chute system to funnel the flock out of the fireplace and release them through the home’s back doors, the firefighters said. 

The migratory birds appear to be Vaux swifts, according to KLTA, which roost in chimneys in large groups. 

Local bird expert John Honjiyo, who owns bird control company Birdxpert, said he’s been busy in recent weeks with calls about birds in homes. He advised residents to close their chimney flue. 

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