You are here
Home > News > ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ Founder Proves People Will Believe Anything |

‘Birds Aren’t Real’ Founder Proves People Will Believe Anything |

Birds Aren’t Real is a conspiracy movement that’s exactly what it sounds like: the concept that birds aren’t real, and they’ve been replaced by robotic replicas, installed by the “deep state.” But founder Peter McIndoe, 24, broke character on CBS 60 minutes on May 1 to explain that his conspiracy theory is simply a parody and that his movement is more of a social experiment—and it’s working like a charm.

Bird Aren’t Real slogans and imagery appear on billboards, bumper stickers, and even places such as an NCAA men’s basketball national championship game. The website sells “Truther Gear” like crazy. Birds Aren’t Real now boasts over 1 million devoted followers and over 400,000 followers on Instagram.

“Once a preventative cause, our initial goal was to stop the genocide of real birds,” the organization states on its website. “Unfortunately this was unsuccessful, and the government has since replaced every living bird with robotic replicas. Now our movement’s prerogative is to make everyone aware of this fact.”

According to the organization, it allegedly launched in 1973 following learning about a secret C.I.A. Operation to exterminate birds going back to 1950s.

Despite the level of absurdity, the movement attracted actual followers who are convinced birds aren’t real. Profiled in April 14. The Guardian, McIndoe said the “absurdity is getting more intense.” McIndoe realized his own movement had become larger than he could control. “I remember seeing videos of people chanting: ‘Birds aren’t real,’ at high-school football games; and seeing graffiti of ‘birds aren’t real.’ At first, I thought: ‘This is crazy,’ but then I wondered: ‘What is making this resonate with people?’”

Sometimes he even joined the party and helped to fan the flames. “If it flies? It spy! It flies! It spies!” McIndoe chanted at a Birds Aren’t Really rally in Hollywood, California. “If it flies, it spies!” they chanted in return. 

“Birds aren’t real!” McIndoe shouted. McIndoe received about 200 protestors at his rally. But he said that not all of them were real.

It’s part of being a professional. “I wake up every morning, just like you do. I brush my teeth; I wash my car, and I have an avid disbelief in avian beings,” McIndoe said with a straight face on WREG’s Live At 9In 2019.

Continue reading 60 Minutes

Sharon Alfonsi, CBS News 60 Minutes interviewed the founder of Birds Aren’t Real, profiling McIndoe and his bizarrely successful social experiment. McIndoe defied his character once again after breaking it in another interview. The New York TimesIn December 2021.

The interview clip received 1.1 million views on YouTube.

Following the election of Donald Trump, McIndoe noticed that at Trump protests for the Women’s March, the events would attract random counter protesters for various movements. The world felt so unstable to him that he thought he’d join in on the fun. McIndoe and some friends went to a protest in Memphis, Tennessee in 2017 and thought it would be funny to start shouting random absurd slogans such as “Birds aren’t real!!” Friends Claire Chronis, Cameron Kasky, and Connor Gaydos are now part of the movement.

“So it’s taking this concept of misinformation and almost building a little safe space to come together within it and laugh at it rather than be scared by it,” McIndoe said. “And accept the lunacy of it all and be a bird truther for a moment in time when everything’s so crazy.”

Weed Conspiracies

All of us are affected by misinformation. Chronic News profiled “Eight of The Craziest Weed Conspiracies That Might Be True” in 2020. 

The most common conspiracy theory about marijuana is that cannabis can reduce penis length by one centimeter and lower sperm count. However, peer-reviewed research shows that marijuana can have a negative impact on sperm counts. Harvard also conducted a study that showed that cannabis has a higher concentration of sperm. 

Harry J. Anslinger led the most infamous cannabis conspiracy. Angslinger’s conspiracy, however, had real and dangerous implications, leading to people being targeted.

Today, the rise of conspiracies is fueled by “digital cults” like QAnon, with people who are convinced that Satanic, cannibal politicians are indeed real, that celebrities secretly take Adrenochrome harvested from children, or that Bill Gates orchestrated COVID. 

Is Bird’s Aren’t Real any more absurd than those conspiracy theories?