MAGA hat-wearing pigeons cause a flap in Las Vegas

A flock of pigeons wearing 'MAGA' hats and Donald Trump-style wigs has descended on downtown Las Vegas.

The birds were seen in the city on the eve of a debate between the Democratic candidates, one of whom will be facing off against Trump in this year's US presidential election, local media reported.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the stunt was organised by a mysterious group called Pigeons United To Interfere Now - which shortens to PUTIN, a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of running interference in the 2016 election to tip the scales in favour of Trump. 

The pigeons were released ahead of the Democratic debate to "serve as a gesture of support and loyalty to President Trump", the group told the Review-Journal.

"PUTIN values its cause over celebrity. The aim of this project is to draw attention to the art and the message, not those behind it."

Two of the pigeons.
Two of the pigeons. Photo credit: Pigeons United To Interfere Now

The group told the paper the stunt was "mostly satire" though, leaving their real motives unclear. 

Strangely enough, it's not the first time pigeons wearing hats have baffled Las Vegas residents. In December, birds wearing cowboy hats were spotted around the city - one of them later dying, though it was unclear if her death was related to her permanent accessory. 

Another pigeon wearing a sombrero was seen in nearby Reno just last month.

PUTIN said it wasn't responsible for those incidents. Its birds will be fine, the group insisted - saying they attached the miniature hats and wigs with eyelash glue.

"It's what women use to put around their eyes for eyelash extensions. The hats usually stay on for a day or two, depending on the bird's movements," spokesperson Coo Hand Luke said. 

"We can also remove them ourselves as they fly back to the coop. They could be gone for a day, two days or a week, but they always come back."

PUTIN released a video of the pigeons' release, which included dialogue from Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller The Birds.