A huge flock of black birds mysteriously descended on a Houston highway on January 19th, seemingly oblivious to the speeding cars as a video of the scene showed them hitting the windshield. This has occurred before in Houston and but now it appears to be happening more frequently. Is this a warning to Houston? Texas? Cars?
This latest real recreation of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was recorded by Jessica Rios on an unidentified Houston freeway – since Houston is covered with freeways, it could be anywhere. Traffic is backed up on the other side of the freeway – a common occurrence in Houston that could be related to the birds, rush hour or the weather, since the sky appears to be darkened with storm clouds. The birds appear to be black, which means they could be blackbirds, crows, common grackles (very common in Houston) or some other bird made unidentifiable by the lighting.
Huge flocks of birds have been showing up regularly around Houston, with similar events reported in 2016 and 2015. Hannah Bailey, a bird expert at the Houston Zoo, explained after an incident in October 2016 that blackbirds gather in large groups to find food and keep warm and are key to keeping the Houston mosquito population down. However, that doesn’t explain why they were attacking cars last week.
Since stories of bird attacks inevitably reference The Birds, is there a connection here? The movie, which never explains the attacks, was said to be based on Daphne Du Maurier's short story of the same name (attacks unexplained in it as well) and an incident in 1961 in Monterey, California, huge flocks of seabirds rammed into houses. Autopsies of the birds revealed poison from toxic algae which causes amnesia, disorientation and seizures. A housing boom and rains carried toxic runoff to the ocean where it poisoned the plankton eaten by the birds. Sound like Houston with its housing boom and recent heavy (some would say apocalyptic) rains?
Were these black birds sending an environmental warning to Houston? Biblical? They’re not birds of prey, unless you’re a mosquito.
As of now, this mystery of the birds attacking Houston cars is unsolved, with the only people happy about it being car wash owners.