Backyard Chirper

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Flock of Swifts Fly Into Woman’s House

The swifts circling Shirley Brown’s house.

We all want birds to come to our home, but we don’t want birds to come in our home. Unfortunately for one California woman, she doesn’t have a choice.

Shirley Brown unexpectedly found a huge flock of swifts flying around her house when she came home one evening. As you might expect, she was surprised, scared and in awe.

She told local news that she screamed at the 200 or 300 birds that came in through the chimney of her house. When she tried to clean up some of the mess with a vacuum cleaner, the birds became even more freaked out.

Regardless of what you think of birds, everybody knows they’re not cleanliest creatures and having hundreds frantically flying around the house after coming down the chimney is a recipe for disaster.

And, boy, the local news channels are having a field day with this story. Every news station covering this bizarre story is leading into the segment with a clever Alfred Hitchcock “Birds” reference.

But is a flock of birds flying down the chimney that bizarre? Not really. Swifts are well known for diving down into chimneys and if there is no gate blocking the chimney flue, they’ll likely keep heading down into the house.

The worst part of the whole ordeal for Shirley Brown is that the birds return at 8:00 pm every day like clockwork. Swifts are somewhat of an enigma, but it’s very possible the swifts are looking for a nesting site.

Their preferred nesting sites, along canyon walls near water or on sea cliffs, are being disturbed by rock climbers. Perhaps the chimney walls or even the inside of Brown’s house looks like a nice place to nest.

Hopefully Brown is able to figure out a way to stop the birds from entering her house.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.