Following years of research into birds attacking humans and losing their bearings mid-flight, the boffins have ruled the creatures ate a form of toxin-making algae that causes amnesia and disorientation.
The 1963 film about the now-explained phenomenon was based on a 1961 event in the Monterey Bay area of northern California, where a flock of disoriented seabirds crashed into homes.
The scientists’ findings also help to explain the mysterious deaths of four people on Canada’s Prince Edward Island in the late 1980s and countless examples of stranded sea creatures over the years.
Oceanographic researcher Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University insists she was the perfect person to get involved with the study.
She tells ABC News, “I have a special connection to this movie (The Birds). When I was a kid, they showed it on TV and my parents didn’t let me watch it. While they were watching in the family room, I was outside, trying to see the movie from the keyhole. What I saw was so scary.
“When I started work on harmful algae blooms and their toxins and then learned of this superexciting connection, I felt I had to work on this.”