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These Birds Aren’t Real

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These Birds Aren’t Real


Every time I exit my car in the Brown-Cody parking lot, ear piercing sounds ring into my skull. A dissonant chorus of squawks and squeaks and chirps sound around me. My heart starts to race, and I can’t help but ask myself: What in the world is happening? It’s not until a few moments later that I am able to process that these unusually loud sounds were…birds? No… birds aren’t usually that loud. But the noises sounded like bird calls…or whatever other sounds could possibly escape their small vocal chords. Have you ever wondered why these presumed birds never seem to never shut up? 

As I stood dumbfounded in the parking lot, I watched students walk into the Robertson Center, unfazed by the sounds in that area. I spotted one or two people glancing up confusedly though, but that’s about it. Immediately, I thought about the Birds Aren’t Real movement, and for a split second—I wholeheartedly believed that birds were in fact government drones. However, as soon as those crazed conspiracies overtook my typically logical mind, my common sense returned. Since I was still curious about the bird sounds, I began to ask around.

I started by consulting friends, and the majority of them had no idea what I was talking about. This struck me as odd but made sense because of the lack of awareness I previously observed. However, my friend Danielle Ferebee proposed a sensible idea: the school put up noise machines to scare invasive birds away. She further explained that it probably prevents birds from nesting in the trees since in doing so, the birds create little white messes on the sidewalks. Danielle set aside, nobody else seemed to know.

My curiosity led me to email the facilities manager, Brandon Quintanilla. He kindly responded to my questions with concise detail. He informed that the “Bird Deterrent Sound Systems” are “sporadically spread out across campus,” according to the “out of sight out of mind” philosophy. According to Mr. Quintanilla, these sounds come from 4×4 speaker systems, used as “distress and predator calls, along with other sounds to deter birds away from our facilities.” The speakers are located on a “specific facility and is to spread the sound destress of up to a square acre of coverage.” He explained that these are more effective than one might think, because they prevent birds’ “wide range of havoc,” which can result in “bird droppings on concrete, flying into windows therefore injuring themselves or either shattering glass [and] creating bird nests in mechanical areas that could cause faulty equipment.” Mr. Quintanilla said that these systems are a humane way of “deterring the birds to other locations.” These secretive birds are not only random in their location, but also when they turn on. Squeaks and squawks will sound as the system comes to life and as Mr. Quintanilla wrote, “It will sound the distress call, and then cycle again after a ten minute timer sets off, this process repeats until it’s been permanently disarmed.” 

So there you have it: the truth behind the secrecy of the bird sounds. No, they are not real; they are “out of sight out of mind,” as Mr. Quintanilla humorously phrased it. Do not fret, do not jump in terror as I once did; there are no phantom government controlled birds. Next time you are walking to class or rushing to the Robertson Center and you hear the sounds, keep calm and continue on with your day, because it’s one day less of you experiencing the real birds “wreaking havoc” on our campus.

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