Conspiracy Theories I: Birds of a Feather

Are birds drones? Is bird shit a soupy tracking device?

Probably fucking not. But let’s briefly look into the background of this conspiracy theory and it’s plausibility.

Uh .. alright Wikipedia… what?

Birds Aren’t Real is a satirical conspiracy theory which posits that birds are actually drones operated by the United States government to spy on American citizens. In 2018, journalist Rachel Roberts described Birds Aren’t Real as “a joke that thousands of people are in on.”’t_Real

So how it started.

A day after the inauguration of America’s 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, the weather remained mild while the rest of the country went wild. On Saturday, January 21st 2017, on an overcast, fifty degree day in Washington a new march begins. A March that would generate over five million international participants over the weekend with D.C. as it’s hub.

The weather the day of
The Women’s March on Washington in 2017

Responding to sexists remarks revealed during Trump’s campaign trail the March was an obvious sign of protest towards misogyny, institutional or otherwise. Subsequent and follow up marches have followed suit since the original March but that is not the only legacy left in the wake of the 2017 protests.

The man behind the conspiracy

As the women’s marches were taking place, nineteen year old University of Arkansas psychology student, Peter McIndoe was visiting friends in Memphis, Tennessee. They were watching out the window at the city’s women’s march and noticed counter protesters, as McIndoe explained to The Guardian:

“It was the weekend of simultaneous Women’s Marches across the US (indeed, the world), and McIndoe looked out of the window and noticed “counterprotesters, who were older, bigger white men. They were clear aggravators. They were encroaching on something that was not their event, they had no business being there.” Added to that, “it felt like chaos, because the world felt like chaos”

McIndoe to the Guardian (2022) (link below)

“It’s not like I sat down and thought I’m going to make a satire. I just thought: ‘I should write a sign that has nothing to do with what is going on.’ An absurdist statement to bring to the equation.”

McIndoe on creating the “Birds Aren’t Real” movement to counteract more radical conspiracy theories being taken seriously

It didn’t take long for a video of McIndoe explaining his sign to the counter-protestors of the Women’s Match to go viral. Since the Birds Aren’t Real movement has grown exponentially and so has the ridiculous and comical explanations.

The basics

The movement claims that all birds in the United States were exterminated by the federal government between 1959 and 1971, and replaced by lookalike drones used by the government to spy on citizens; the specifics of these theories are not always consistent, not unlike actual conspiracy theories. They claim that birds sit on power lines to recharge themselves, that birds poop on cars as a tracking method, and that U.S. president John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the government due to his reluctance to kill all the birds.


Essentially “BAR” has been attributed by members of the media as a Generation Z “coping mechanism”. Personally, I don’t agree with this take as I think it further perpetuates a unique helplessness and soft stereotype of our young adults in America. I don’t think there is a softness in Gen Z at all. Ignoring the incredibly small Twitter minority, I would as far as to say that Gen Z is one of the most suave and hardened generations of voting age today.

While, Birds Aren’t Real hasn’t eradicated the widespread epidemic of, “I’mFuckingStupid-itus” that has befallen on much of the modern world, it has gotten some laughs and sometimes that’s all you can really do.


The Guardian



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2 thoughts on “Conspiracy Theories I: Birds of a Feather

    1. Agreed. Fortunately for us the, “Bird Truthers” aren’t storming the Capitol (yet) 😂

      Even though the fine writers of Black Mirror had already predicted a political joke turning dangerously radical in no time.

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