Leader of Viral ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ Movement Swears He’s Not Joking

It’s no secret that conspiracy theories are spreading like never before, thanks to the internet. Whether they’re dangerous and toxic ideologies like QAnon, or outlandish claims that are incorrect but less threatening (think: the flat-Earth theory), conspiracies have become part of the fabric of daily life in America.

One “theory” that seems intentionally nonsensical but is nonetheless gaining traction on social media is the “Birds Aren’t Real” movement, which is built around the claim that, well, birds aren’t real.

The unsubstantiated theory alleges that, between 1959 and 2001, the government killed off all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones. It’s such a bizarre idea that it almost seems like a parody of other conspiracy theories—and it very well might be, despite what the movement’s apparent leader insists.

According to its website, the Birds Aren’t Real movement started in the 1970s, although its frontman, Peter McIndoe, told Newsweek that it started in the ’50s—an inconsistency that might be a sign from McIndoe that the whole thing is one big gag.

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