A prankster group has unleashed a flock of pigeons wearing miniature “Make America Great Again” hats in Las Vegas, Nev., in a stunt that puts a pro-Trump spin on an earlier viral incident involving cowboy hats.
The group, which calls itself Pigeons United To Interfere Now (PUTIN), sent video of the MAGA flock to several news outlets in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
The video features several shots of a middle-aged man releasing the hat-wearing pigeons into the sky. It also includes footage of at least 21 hat-wearing pigeons together in a coop bedecked with tiny American flags. All of the birds appear to be wearing the MAGA hat except for one, which has a glued-on puff of golden hair in the style of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Dialogue from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film The Birds can be heard playing throughout the clip.
PUTIN’s anonymous leader, who calls himself “Coo Hand Luke,” told KVVU-TV that the birds were an act of “aerial protest” against Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, which took place in Vegas.
“The release date was also coordinated to serve as a gesture of support and loyalty to President Trump,” Coo Hand Luke said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
He said he was inspired by Cold War-era operations in which the CIA used pigeons to spy on Soviet targets. He specifically cited Operation Tacana, which involved attaching tiny spy cameras to the birds.
The incident comes two months after several pigeons were seen wearing cowboy hats in Las Vegas, sparking concerns for their well-being.
Staff at the Lofty Hopes Pigeon rescue managed to recover three of the birds, but one of them later died. The bird rescue group said the hats were attached with glue, and fumes from the glue had poisoned one of the birds. (It was unclear if the poisoning caused the bird’s death.)
The identity of the cowboy-hat prankster has not been revealed.
It’s unclear whether PUTIN is composed of one person or many, although Coo Hand Luke describes it as an “underground radical group.”
He claims that “exhaustive research, logistical hurdles and pigeon care taking” went into Tuesday’s stunt. He added that the group rescued many of the birds before mobilizing them for the stunt. Their hats were attached with eyelash glue which wears off in a few days, he said.
“It’s what women use to put around their eyes for eyelash extensions,” Coo Hand Luke told the Review-Journal. He also downplayed concerns about animal cruelty.
“I don’t see the difference between this or people dressing up their dogs or cats.”