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Why Is Musk Tweeting That Birds Aren't Real?

Is it the stress?

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockNov 7 2022, 11:43 UTC
An owl looking shocked, perhaps because it has seen one of Elon Musk's tweets.
An owl looking shocked, perhaps because it has seen one of Elon Musk's tweets. Image credit: Cat Box/shutterstock.com,

About a week after acquiring Twitter for $44 billion, Musk is tweeting that birds aren't real. Has the stress of owning a platform he doesn't appear to understand the workings of finally got to him, or is there something else going on?

For those uninitiated, the satirical birds aren't real movement claims that birds were once real but have now been replaced with drones by – you guessed it – none other than Barack Obama, back in 2001. The new robot birds are used to monitor Americans, according to the conspiracy theory.

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"Where it all began. October 26th, 2001," verified campaign account Birdsarentreal wrote on Instagram, underneath the compelling evidence above. "The day the deceitful and wicked Patriot Act was passed by congress. I can't watch these horrific videos in public, I tremble uncontrollably with rage. I sob. I can't keep quiet."

"After the government killed off the last real bird in 2001, they released the beta versions of the first prototype bird drones, as shown in these tapes. WHAT A COINCIDENCE that on October 27th, 2001, PEARL HARBOR happened. Yet no one seems to draw the correlation. Sheep."

"Call me misinformed, call me stupid, call me under-educated, I don't care. Just because I didn't go to 'high school' doesn't mean that I'm any less intelligent. I just haven't been brainwashed and institutionalized like you all. I know that I am #WOKE and one day you all will see."

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Despite the obvious absurdity of the premise, the movement has a lot of supporters both online and offline. The rally, which took place in Springfield, Missouri, was attended by a large number of people, given that they were there to spread the word that birds are robots.


The movement joins "Australia isn't real" in the list of satirical conspiracy theories that probably have a few real people convinced too.

First conceived (or unearthed, depending on whether or not you believe birds are robots and everyone is in on the lie) by a college student in 2017, the conspiracy theory claims that in the 1950s the CIA was faced with two problems:

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1) how to surveil the entire US population

2) how to stop birds poopin' on their fancy CIA cars

The solution may seem obvious in retrospect, but it was, of course, to replace the birds with tiny robot drones to listen in to our every conversation. 

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"In a stolen transcript from an ex-CIA deputy, she says, 'yeah, the higher-ups were so annoyed that birds had been dropping fecal matter on their car windows that they vowed to wipe out every single flying feathered creature in North America'," Birds Aren't Real write on their website (which is well worth checking out for entertainment value).

The theory continues that in 1969, John F. Kennedy was assassinated for opposing the plan after seeing a prototype of a "Turkey X500" robot, which would slaughter the real birds ready for replacement. Following several trials and upgrades, the birds were finally released in 2001 by Obama, because that's the kind of thing he does in conspiracy theories.

During a conversation about naming features on Twitter after birds, Musk supported a splinter theory of the "birds aren't real" movement. 

Presumably also in jest (you never know, according to Musk, who is removing blue ticks from anyone who doesn't clearly label their parody account as a parody) the theory claims that birds were actually replaced with robots way back in 1986. Which, for clarity, they weren't.


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