Birds Aren't Real

Birds Aren't Real is an amusing parody of conspiracy grift merch, which is to say it is a site where you can buy t-shirts and other things emblazoned with a bespoke conspiracy theory that Birds Aren't Real (they are, of course, government surveillance drones).

All across this wretched country there are leaders, those that have chosen to lead. To impart the knowledge of this travesty to every man, woman, and child. They will not rest, and can't (even if they wanted to) as there are drones on top of their house making loud noises. This bird nightmare makes the Illuminati and JFK conspiracies look like a toddler playing in the Burger King Play Place.

The Audubon Society reports that the site was "hatched" by a 20-year-old student.

Sounds extreme but also somewhat fitting, given the landscape of today's social discourse. By surfacing murky bits of history and the ubiquity of Aves, Birds Aren't Real feeds into this era of post-truth politics. The campaign relies on internet-fueled guerilla marketing to spread its message, manifesting through real-world posters and Photoshopped propaganda tagged with the "Birds Aren't Real" slogan.

For much of its devoted fanbase, Birds Aren't Real is a respite from America's political divide—a joke so preposterous both conservatives and liberals can laugh at it. But for a few followers, this movement is no more unbelievable than QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy theory turned marketing ploy that holds that someone with high-level government clearance is planting coded tips in the news. Therein lies the genius of Birds Aren't Real: It's a digital breadcrumb trail that leads to a website that leads to a shop full of ready-to-buy merchandise.

Lots of fun fan art to be found on Insta. The embedded poster is from the Arkansas chapter.