Category Archives: Internet Meme

Meme Monday: Keep Calm and Carry On

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

The catchphrase Keep Calm and Carry On was used on British public safety propaganda posters in Britain during World War II. A copy of the poster was rediscovered in 2000 and its modern popularity began to grow. In November 2008 Threadless released the first known parody of the poster with their Now Panic and Freak Out shirt. Many different parodies have been published since then, including some related to birds or birding.

Keep Calm and Carry Bins

Keep Calm and Go Birding

Keep Calm and Carrion

The above images have affiliate links. If you’ve got your own ideas, it’s pretty easy to make your own using the funny Keep Calm-o-Matic website.

Keep Calm and Watch Birds

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Meme Monday: Harlem Shake

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

In February 2013, the music track “Harlem Shake” by artist Baauer spawned a series of funny, short dance videos. The typical Harlem Shake clip is usually about a half minute long. The standard video format is to begin with a single person dancing to the song, surrounded by others who are ignoring the dancing person. This is followed by a rough cut to lots of people dancing to the song, often wearing funny or strange costumes and brandishing odd props. An early parody video went viral in the first week of February, earning over 7 million hits on YouTube in a week’s time. By the middle of February, there were about 12K Harlem Shake videos posted on YouTube.

With this level of virality, of course there are Harlem Shake clips featuring birds. There are a good number of videos featuring parrots. Many bird clips don’t follow the standard format — a single bird is shown dancing, as in this clip featuring a Black-crowned Night-Heron, or the venue changes completely from one scene to the next, as in this European Starling murmuration video (which is pretty funny, anyway). Another clip, called Harlem shake (duck edition) uses this original video set to the music. I had seen the original clip before so I knew what was going to happen but it still made me giggle — especially since I knew the birds would all end up alright (and upright!).

I thought the following Harlem Shake video was just about the only bird-type one worth sharing here. The timing is pretty good in this clip, which begins with a single pigeon feasting on some seed. As the bass is about to drop, more pigeons arrive and a feeding frenzy takes the place of crazy dancing. The video runs too long as the meme goes, but if you watch to the end you’ll see how fast a flock of pigeons can devout a big pile of seed. Impressive!

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Meme Monday: Hitler Reacts

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

Der Untergang (US: Downfall) is a 2004 German film about the last days of Adolf Hitler’s life. The success of the film reached meme proportions in August 2006 with the release of the first parody “Hitler Reacts” clip. Since then, one particularly heated scene from De Untergang has been used countless times to parody Hitler reacting to everything from the U.S. mortgage crisis to Usain Bolt breaking the 100 meter dash world record. And now, Hitler Reacts to Missing Hoary Repoll in Colorado:


Hoary Redpolls are typically found much further north; the recent Colorado sighting is the state’s first.

UPDATE September 18, 2013

Here is a brilliant version of the meme uploaded in September, 2013: Hitler gets 700.

UPDATE January 25, 2014

Wren ID problems make the Führer angry in Hitler Reacts to a Stub-tailed Wren in Boulder:

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Meme Monday: Hey girl, bird with me?

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is the subject of several single-topic Tumblr blogs / meme themes. Images of Gosling are accompanied by captions that often begin with, “Hey girl,” followed by a sentence that would only be uttered by the world’s best boyfriend. After Gosling himself read some of the captions on MTV in December 2010, the meme took off with derivatives like Feminist Ryan Gosling, Hey girl. I heart NPR., Law School Ryan Gosling, and of course, Hey girl, bird with me?

While the popularity of this particular “Hey girl” variation probably reached its peak back January or February, you can still follow this brilliant birder meme via the Hey girl, bird with me? Facebook page or the original Hey girl, bird with me? Tumblr blog.

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Meme Monday: Sh*t Birders Say

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” [Merriam Webster]. An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

Sh*t Girls Say debuted as a short video series in December 2011. The clips of guys dressed up as girls saying extremely stereotypical (and sometimes offensive) things were very popular. Ever since this meme started spawning parodies, I was hoping someone would make a Birder version. But first, there was a Sh*t Birds Say.

And finally, this was posted on YouTube yesterday. Yay! “You brought a Crossley’s?!”


Hat tip to Laura Erickson and Birdchick

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Meme Monday: The Most Interesting Man in the World

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” [Merriam Webster]. An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

An Internet meme based on the Dos Equis beer The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign probably began sometime in late 2007. The standard text reads, “I don’t always x, but when I do, I y,” which parodies the ad campaign slogan, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”


The Most Interesting Man in the World: Cooper’s Hawk vs. Sharpie [hat tip Jeff]


The Most Interesting Man in the World: Chum Scrum [hat tip Corey]

Images of others in a sort of laid-back position were used for this meme as well, including Harry Potter, and a relaxed-looking cat – The Most Interesting Cat in the World.


The Most Interesting Cat in the World: Cats Indoors

The following image, which doesn’t follow the standard meme protocol, is the only other bird-related variation on this meme I could find.


The Most Interesting Man in the World: Birds Watch Him

If you know of any other bird- or birder-related variations on this meme, I would love to add them to this post. Please let me know!

Stay thirsty, my friends!

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Meme Monday: What I Really Do

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” [Merriam Webster]. An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

Last week a fresh meme started with photos depicting varying perspectives on occupations in shareable six-image graphics. What People Think I Do / What I Really Do grew to include hobbies, locations, medical conditions, and much more. Here’s a birdwatching one that was posted on the ABA Facebook group page. [Facebook original posting]


Birding – What I Really Do (click to see larger)

For most of the occupation-based graphics, the captions indicating different perspectives were roughly the same: Friends; Mom; Society; Boss; Self; and finally “What I Really Do.” Arthur came up with this one for birders. [Facebook original posting]


Black Rail – What I Really Look Like (click to see larger)

In case you don’t know, a Black Rail is a very secretive, hard-to-see bird. And the Richard Crossley caption refers to a rather unique photographic bird guide he published last year. Note that the Black Rail photos in this meme image were taken by photographer David Seibel. You can read about them here: Photographing the Black Rail.

Arthur came up with another one, this time on a very hotbed issue: outdoor cats. He shared this one on the Alley Cat Allies Facebook page, where it received a lot of positive feedback and was shared over 160 260 times. [Facebook original posting]

Cats Outdoors
Cats Outdoors – What I Actually Do (click to see larger – on Flickr)

In preparing the Cats Outdoors graphic, we came across a lot of Flickr photos of cats carrying dead birds. We created a Flickr group, Keep Cats Indoors, and we invite anyone to add appropriate photos to the group. Warning: the group contains graphic photos of dead birds and dead cats.

If you know of any other bird- or birder-related variations on this meme, I would love to know about them. One problem I have with the fast-paced world of Internet memes is finding them after the popularity of the meme has died down. The nature of these graphic memes means that they aren’t necessarily optimized for finding via search engines at a later date.

UPDATE 21-FEB-12


Birdwatcher | What It’s Really Like [FB link] (click to enlarge)

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