Drinking Birds — Alien Toys

Mess Room Table Aboard the Nostromo

The crew of the Nostromo at the mess table shortly after being awakened on the way to Earth from Thedus. Note the pair of drinking birds at the center of the frame.

In the opening shots of Alien, as the camera tours the scene of all the action that is to come, on the dining table sit a pair of drinking birds, happily sipping away from a mug of water.  This in itself brings up an interesting issue:  These little birds require the mug of water to keep their heads wet in order to keep drinking, therefore the crew cannot have been in hypersleep for too long, otherwise the water in the mug would have evaporated, the little birdie heads would dry off, and they would stop dipping.  According to the timeline given at the Alien Anthology Wiki, the USCSS Nostromo has been en route for about a year when the crew is awakened, revealing some remarkably evaporation resistant water.  Well, it’s a movie, so let’s suspend disbelief for a bit…

Drinking Lucky Bird

One of the three “Drinking Lucky Birds” that I purchased in its unaltered state.

These little toys have been around for a while.  Patented in the United States by one Miles V. Sullivan in 1946, it would seem from a little research that these existed as toys in China, where they were known as the “Insatiable Birdie,” at least as early as the 1930’s.  Apparently they remain popular curiosities for quite a while longer to show up on the mess hall table of the Nostromo in 2122 A.D.

You can still get these little guys.  I ordered a Three-Pack of Magic Drinking Birds through Amazon.  When they arrived it became apparent that I was going to have to make some changes to get them looking like their 22nd century brethren. Continue reading