The Masters birds you hear chirping during the coverage are fake, according to multiple observers who claim CBS was busted years ago funneling fake chirps. There are claims that a bird expert busted CBS way back in 2000. The bird expert supposedly knew the sounds and those birds wouldn’t be in Augusta at this time of year.
I’m even being told by locals that there aren’t birds in Augusta, Georgia. I’m told that the birds won’t go into Augusta National because it’s in a ghetto part of town. And these people are serious.
A little research into this phenomenon shows that the New York Post hired experts in 2000 to analyze what they were hearing from the birds during CBS broadcasts – but the story doesn’t mention the Masters.
The network came clean earlier this week and confessed that it has been mixing in taped sounds of birds singing with live golf telecasts, most recently at the World Golf Championship NEC Invitational two weeks ago in Akron, Ohio.
Not only that, but according to bird-call experts asked by the New York Post to watch and listen to videotape of CBS broadcasts, the network isn’t even getting the birds in the correct geographic area.
The Post reported that the taped bird calls were used by CBS during the playing of the NEC Invitational, the PGA Championship in Louisville, Ky., and the Buick Open in Warwick Hills, Mich. CBS spokeswoman Leslie Ann Wade said the bird calls were used to get “ambient sound” for broadcasts, and were only a last resort.
The first resort: putting dishes of birdfeed near microphones at tournament sites. Wade said when that doesn’t produce the desired sounds of nature, they go to the tape.
Bird-watchers interviewed by the Post said the worst part is that someone at CBS didn’t research which birds were indigenous to Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan. One, John Malcolm of Gaithersburg, Md., said he heard a canyon wren, which lives only west of Texas, on a Buick Open tape; and a white-throated sparrow, found only in the North during the summer, on tapes from the PGA and NEC Invitational.
A year later, crotchety old timer Phil Mushnick brought up The Masters birds after readers raised more concerns about CBS.
Thus, CBS, during this Masters, begged relevant questions that should’ve been too absurd to ask: What’s the story with the birds? Are they the taped, imported kind that we’d been hearing, or are they live, Augusta National homeboys?
“The birds you hear,” a CBS spokesperson said with mock indignation but all-business clarity, “are live and they are indigenous to Augusta.”
So it’s entirely possible that the urban legend about Masters birds was born out of the 2000 controversy where CBS admitted to doing this at certain tournaments. Then, in 2001, CBS claimed the birds heard at Augusta were the real deal.
I’m starting to think this is an urban legend.