“Birds Aren’t Real”

A Dive into the infamous Bird Drone Theory

We’re all familiar with conspiracy theories. From a faked moon landing to wild ideas about JFK’s assassination, theories and believers abound. Where people have different explanations of different events that often get them called “crazy” or “insane”.

Many conspiracy theorists go much further, though, and they see a hidden hand behind the world’s major events. Conspiracy theories are often very difficult to dislodge: Some may contain grains of truth or feed an emotional need for believers. And hardcore believers are adept at rationalizing away evidence that contradicts their beliefs. 

So what do people think of a theory claiming that “birdwatching goes both ways”?

Peter Mclndoe with his van. Kenzie Donovan |

The Birds Aren’t Real movement is a viral conspiracy theory that posits that birds are actually drones operated by the United States government to spy on American citizens. On their website, the movement offers a long history and explanation for the theory, which involves the American intelligence community and the Red Scare.

It has captured the minds of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Americans. 

“I’m not completely sure of it, to be honest,” says Elizabeth Eolrin, a sophomore. “I think some people like to go all out with these kinds of things.”

Hundreds of young people have joined the movement, wearing Birds Aren’t Real T-shirts, swarming rallies and spreading the slogan.

Some would probably ask: Who is behind this? That would be Peter Mclndoe. 

The 23-year-old is the creator of this feathered fugitive tale. From his website to protesters to even a nauseating live interview, he takes his theory incredibly seriously. 

Mclndoe travels the country in his van to make his movement known, all while knowing the possible dangers of starting a huge propaganda. 

“Conspiracy theories are fun to talk about,” says Avery Thompson, a junior. “But I think that taking certain action on conspiracy theories, especially if they involve the government, can have really bad consequences.” 

Some people do leave comments trying to disprove the Birds Aren’t Real movement, but other followers appear to be sincerely buying in. With people online seemingly joining the “Bird Brigade,” which is what the group’s activists call themselves, the line between reality and potential satire becomes alarmingly thin.

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