The ingenious design of the drinking bird (and what it is hiding under its hat)

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Very informational, but I feel like I need a nap now.


My grandfather picked up a drinking bird at some tourist trap in the late 50s. It sat on a window ledge by their kitchen table until my grandmother moved out of the house in 2009. (My grandfather died in 1986.) I remember that he had patched the head multiple times with cotton and Elmer’s glue, recolored with a red Magic Marker, because the original covering would get a tad moldy over time. He also had to replace the eyes with craft-store “googly eyes”. The bird, which is almost 60 years old, now sits on a desk at my uncle’s place.

And it still works.


i have three of these. it’s one of those toys i have a very early memory of… i’m sure my dad brought one back for me from a trip. i still love them. i have a long-standing dream – well, after watching this i’m certain it’s actually a fantasy – of a giant one of these out at burning man. this video clearly shows the many, many problems with attempting such a thing. (not to mention the basic safety problem of messed-up burners trying to climb all over it.)

Side note: I sure wish I could’ve written this well in university.

This is the second blog I’ve seen to post about this today. I suspect Amazon is having an influx of orders for these things. I’ve always wanted one so picked up one today so I can explain to my kids how it works and they can believe I’m really smart.


I really enjoy the engineer guy’s preparation and detail, but if you want an ever so slightly different take,

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And here I thought “activate the bird” had a different meaning…

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