Thursday, September 16, 2010


It's nice to say "I don't know where this idea came from" so you can claim it just appeared out of thin air like it isn't your fault. However, the idea for the Dead Birds in Media (DBIM) list has a very obvious history.

I bought a maroon-bellied conure (a small parrot) in 1994. Throughout my childhood I had always wanted a pet bird, but I hadn't realized what the experience was like. My parrot had a complete range of emotions, likes and dislikes, a sense of humor (although not a good one; his idea of a good joke was to sit on my head and call to himself), and many other personality traits we only attribute to mammals. You could have knocked me over with a feather, so to speak.

A few years later, I visited Atlanta with my brother. We met with some of his friends and they took us to a laser show at a nearby park. The show was a bunch of cartoon music videos projected on a cliff face with music and fireworks.

In the middle of the show was a piece about a woman in a boat being pursued by sharks. I don't remember the song, but the sharks were meant to symbolize men. They wooed her with candy and flowers while her pet parrot, a cute green bird in a sailor hat, tried to warn her of the danger. In the end, she sails away unscathed. We then see a shark chewing something with a satisfied smile; he burps and a few green feathers float out of his mouth.

I was appalled, but it seemed I was the only one. Of course, I have always been sensitive. Ever since I was a kid, I felt sick to my stomach when I saw someone in a movie die in a way that was meant to make the audience laugh. Now it seemed I had extended that sensitivity to birds as well as humans.

Years later, I saw the movie The Mummy Returns with my wife. Early on, we see that one of the main characters has a pet hawk . Without knowing why, I turned to my wife and said "That bird is going to die." Sure enough, an hour later, I was proven right.

On the walk home, I realized that the only reason filmmakers put birds in movies is to kill them. Over the years, I have found little to contradict this theory, though some people I explain this to strenuously disagree. I have finally decided to put together as comprehensive a list as I can. Why? Partially to show the world I’m right. Mostly in the hope that someone making a movie will see it and CUT THAT SHIT OUT.

Here’s today's entry:

Name: The Mummy Returns
Media: Movie
Date: 2001
Severity: 1
Description: One of the characters in the film (Ardeth) has a pet hawk named Horus he uses for scouting and delivering messages.  Halfway through the film, he is shot and killed.
Mitigating Factors: Horus is shown as a beloved pet, and Ardeth is clearly upset by his death.
Aggravating Factors: None.

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