Strange Animal Behavior:
Birds Invade House
By Michael Miller
PASADENA, Calif. (Reuters) - A bird in the hand may be worth two in the bush, but more than 1,000 in your home is a bit hard to swallow.
When a Pasadena couple returned to their home this week after a few days away, they discovered a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 suspense movie ``The Birds'' -- their two story house was filled with more than 1,000 swifts, a small migratory bird not unlike the swallow. What drove them there is not known. Pasadena Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Joe Nestor said on Thursday that the department received a call from neighbors of the couple on Monday night reporting that a huge flock of swifts was disappearing down the chimney of the house. ``They called us because they could not think of anyone else to call,'' Nestor said.
When Engine No. 34 arrived at the house the couple, who Nestor declined to name because of department policy, were not home, but they arrived a short time later. ``When our fire fighters entered the house there was upward of 1,000 birds in there and they'd done quite a bit of damage to the interior,'' Nestor said. He said the soot-covered swifts were on the floor, behind couches and chairs, under tables, and perched on and behind pictures hung on the walls, ``Just everywhere they could possibly be.''
``Some of them were dead, presumable either having been killed coming down the chimney or crashing into walls in panic,'' Nestor said. The fire fighters opened all the doors and windows in the house, which Nestor described as ``fairly large'' and shooed the birds out. ``It took them a good two hours to clear the home,'' he said.
``I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like in that house,'' he added. Asked why he thought the birds had flown down the chimney Nestor said, ``It beats me. It was rainy and stormy, that might have had something to do with it.''

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