Top 10 Facts About the Birds Are Not Real Movement

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Top 10 Facts About the Birds Are Not Real Movement

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sarah O'Sullivan
This conspiracy theory is for the birds. For this list, we'll be looking at some real facts about this coordinated group action, and some fake facts to see if you can spot what's true and what isn't! Our countdown includes The Group's Purpose, The Truth About Bird Poop, Why This Is Scary, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Facts About the “Birds Aren’t Real” Movement


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re exploring our Top 10 Facts About the “Birds Aren’t Real” Movement.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some real facts about this coordinated group action, and some fake facts to see if you can spot what's true and what isn’t!

If you know more about “Birds Aren’t Real” and think we missed a vital point, please write about it in the Comments section!


#10: The Group’s Purpose

The group claims that “birds aren’t real.” What does that mean? According to the “Birds Aren’t Real” website, no species of living birds still exist in the United States. They were killed and replaced with surveillance drones starting in the mid-20th century, an act that continued until the turn of the next. How? Airplanes dropped poison on them, which gave them a deadly bird-only virus–that part is a little vague. However, it is stated that President John F. Kennedy was killed by the CIA because he wanted to stop the bird-killing operation; also, bird robots were the real reason the US invaded Vietnam. As such, the movement’s goal is to spread awareness about what happened and what’s going on. How do they “know” all this? We’ll get to that in the next segment.

#9: The Evidence They Have Collected

So, what makes Birds Aren’t Real members believe that birds are actually government drones used to spy on US citizens? In the 1970s, one brave man who had worked on the bird-killing project managed to escape. He knew the government would hunt him down, but before he disappeared, he managed to share his information on the program with a young activist – and thus the movement was born. Footage of massive rallies supporting the movement between the ‘70s and ‘90s as well as recordings and documents implying that the United States government secretly carried out this bird drone project exist - though obviously, many have been confiscated by the FBI and government agencies. In fact, oddly enough, it seems no videos or photographs from any pre-2017 Birds Aren’t Real rallies have survived at all…

#8: #Poultrygate

“Poultrygate” refers to an event from 2021 when an anonymous Birds Aren’t Real agent in the White House released certain emails between government officials and celebrities, including a member of the US senate, and the host of a home improvement reality series. They discuss hollowing out a mountain to create bird drone factories. BAR claims that many government officials and wealthy civilians are involved in this, and that most of them are “ornithophiles,” or people who really love birds. If that’s the case though, then why do they support a project that killed real birds and replaced them with robots? Well, the robots are extremely lifelike, indistinguishable from true birds in almost every way. They even excrete – which, as we’ll see next, is all part of the nefarious plot.

#7: The Truth About Bird Poop

Bird feces can be a nuisance, especially if it lands on your house, your car or you. But according to Birds Aren’t Real, the purpose of the poop is far more sinister than that. They claim that the bird drones excrete waste for a purpose: the government has included “tracking liquid” in the synthetic dung, which often lands on cars and therefore enables government officials to monitor where people are going. BAR recommends cleaning your car regularly to prevent this. Though it may sound bizarre, the reasoning makes some sense; aside from rather excessive concerns of realism, why would robot birds have to excrete at all? Unless, of course, these bodily functions somehow helped the people behind them…

#6: A Statement For the Birds

So what should you do if you find yourself face-to-face with a bird that you think might be a government spy? Thankfully, Birds Aren’t Real has the answer. They recommend using the following statement, with a confident manner: “I know your secret. I know that you are a surveillance drone in disguise. I know that behind those beady eyes are cameras, soaking up data and sending it to the Pentagon. I am onto you. I know you are not real.” This not only lets the government know you are onto them, but also puts you in a position of power by reminding both the bird and yourself that it is a mere robot, while you are a human being.

#5: The Reveal

Okay, we’ve been fooling around with you long enough; it’s time to admit the truth! Birds are real, and the Birds Aren’t Real organization is not, in fact, seriously intended. For four years, no one knew for sure whether members of the group truly believed the message they were spreading – they always claimed to be sincere, particularly the founder of the movement, Peter McIndoe. However, McIndoe finally sat down with the New York Times at the end of 2021 and admitted that Bird’s Aren’t Real is a satire. He founded it at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency during a time when there were many conspiracy theories and blatant lies being taken seriously by the public.

#4: BAR Begins

In early 2017, Peter McIndoe went to visit some friends in Memphis, Tennessee. Donald Trump had just been inaugurated and there was a march for women’s rights going on. McIndoe saw some Trump advocates counter-protesting, and their claims seemed so absurd that he decided to develop his own conspiracy theory. He started walking around and telling people that since that the government had killed off real birds in the US and replaced them with drones. He didn’t realize it then, but someone was filming him on a cellphone. The video soon became a hit on Facebook, especially with young adults from the South. Without intending to, McIndoe had started a revolution; and when he saw what had happened, he decided to run with it.

#3: Birds Aren’t Real Merchandise

Like any savvy political leader, Peter McIndoe’s campaign needs finances, and this is gathered primarily through merchandising. Soon after his first video was posted on Facebook, “Birds Aren’t Real” graffiti and stickers started popping up throughout the southern US. As McIndoe began putting more time and effort into the organization, even going as far as hiring an actor to play the “ex-CIA agent” for his video, he also created the Birds Aren’t Real online store. The store primarily sells apparel and stickers, and usually brings in a few thousand dollars monthly. McIndoe is pretty open about where the money goes: along with keeping Birds Aren’t Real running, it also covers his living expenses so he can work on the group full-time.

#2: The (Real) Purpose of the Group

You might be wondering, if Birds Aren’t Real isn’t serious, then what’s the point of it? The group’s founder, Peter McIndoe, grew up in very insular communities in both Cincinnati and Arkansas. As he grew older and began to learn about other points of view, he began to realize that what he’d been told most of his life wasn’t necessarily the only way to see things; and when he began Birds Aren’t Real, he found that many other young people – most in the age group labeled “Generation Z” - felt the same way. In this strange new world of “alternative facts,” “fake news,” and rampant misinformation, they felt a need for something more: a conspiracy theory so ridiculous that it was fun, and one that might even make people think harder about their beliefs.

#1: Why This Is Scary

So what’s the main takeaway from all of this? Well, we don’t want to use the word ‘crazy’ here because it actually carries a lot of negative connotations… but, the support this movement gained is terrifying and definitely something to think about. Sometimes, people want to believe something so much that they will ignore any evidence, no matter how overwhelming, that implies their belief is false. Even the fact that for four years, no one was sure whether Birds Aren’t Real was a serious conspiracy group or not, shows something about the state of information in the world today. But there’s hope! If some people are resilient enough to take a scary situation and turn it into a humorous one – to create something new that gets others to laugh and think – then perhaps we can all learn from them. So take care out there, and remember: the birds are watching!
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