Birds Aren’t Real—They’re Actually Drones

BY Zacc Dukowitz
16 February 2022

A new conspiracy theory claims that birds aren’t real. They’re actually drones used by the U.S. government to spy on its citizens.


According to the conspiracy, all the real birds have been systematically killed off and replaced with drones. The initiative started in the 1950s, when the government became obsessed with domestic surveillance as the Cold War was ramping up.

To protect the U.S. from the threat of communists, it was willing to do anything—even killing off all the birds and replacing them with bird-like drones.

The Bird’s Aren’t Real movement has a strong following, and it’s been growing lately. In November, its followers staged a huge march on the Twitter headquarters. Their gripe? Twitter’s bird logo.


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A post shared by Birds Aren’t Real (@birdsarentreal)

As you may have already guessed, the Bird’s Aren’t Real movement isn’t real. Its founder and followers don’t actually believe that birds are drones.

But more than just making a joke, the movement is using satire to shed light on how the internet helps fuel outlandish conspiracies, aiming to bring people together in a time when everyone seems to be getting more and more polarized.

And even though the central claim of the Bird’s Aren’t Real movement is pretty out there, you can still imagine people believing in it. Just consider the conspiracy that the earth is flat—according to a 2017 poll, 1% of Americans hold this belief, with an additional 6% saying they’re not sure.

Drones that Actually Look Like Birds

All kidding aside, several drones designed to look like birds and modeled from bird movement and behavior have hit the news in the last few years.

Which really isn’t surprising, given how adept birds are at flight—keep reading to learn more about these new bird drones and why they’re being made.

Stanford’s Bird-Like Drone with Talons for Landing on Branches

Stanford engineers create perching bird-like robot

We first heard about this drone created by researchers at Stanford in December of last year.

The most noteworthy feature of this bird-like drone may be its feet—it has feet and legs like a peregrine falcon, which are made to grip branches and other types of surfaces. It can catch and carry objects, as well as perch on various surfaces. The robotic feet that enable this behavior are called SNAG (Stereotyped Nature-inspired Aerial Grasper) and, when attached to a quadcopter, make for a bird-like robot that can land and stabilize itself just about anywhere.

The European Union’s Griffin Project

Stanford engineers create perching bird-like robot

For the last few years, the EU has been working on creating bird-like drones through its Griffin Project.

The primary aim of the project is to create robotic birds, complete with beaks, talons, and flapping wings. Watch the video above to learn more about the project.

France’s Bionic Bird


France’s Defense Ministry recently unveiled its work on a surveillance drone designed to look like a bird so that it could operate without being easily detected.

The drone’s wings are made from carbon fiber, and they flap while it’s in flight. The flapping both makes it look more bird-like and helps increase its efficiency.

As part of the same effort, France’s Defense Ministry is also developing an insect-like drone called the Metafly. Seeing this drone (pictured below) makes us wonder—should we start warning people that Insects Also Aren’t Real?


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