Why Are People Obsessed with the Target Birds?

Group of target dolls

The Spruce / Photo Illustration by Amelia Manley / @astronaut_bee_

You never know what an obsession will take flight. Once something adorable captures the collective eye, a collection is born. This is the case with little birds roosting on Target shelves. 

The birds are made by Spritz, a Target-owned line of fun party supplies and home decor products that launched in 2012. The company started making small birds with felt decorations befitting the next holiday and people cannot get enough. What is it about these tiny tweeters?

A Collecting Game

Maggie of Mxgnesium has 25 of the Target birds, with her initial purchase coming in 2020 from that year’s winter collection. “I’m a sucker for any cute items, I thought they were just adorable! I love the themes and the cute outfits that they have on!,” she says. 

The 2022 Valentine’s birds, including an adorable mail carrier delivering love letters, hit the shelves just as Target was packing up what was left of its Christmas decor, and Maggie grabbed the two she saw right away. She knew they wouldn’t last long. “I pretty much buy every one I find, but I do regret not being able to find all of the 2021 Halloween birds,” she says. 

target birds valentines day

@aliwhitney / Instagram

Kayla of Astronaut Bee managed to snag one of the lovey-dovey postman figures this year. “My latest bird is the Valentine's 2022 postman named Harkin,” she says. “I don't buy every bird I see, just the ones with the designs I really like. But I do take a "family portrait" of all the birds on the shelf so I can remember who came out each season.”

Harkin? They have names? They do now. "Back when I got my first one, the bird designs were fairly simple but had a certain charm to them. I'm pretty sure they only came around Christmas, too," explains Kayla. "Now what I really like about them is the amount of variation in the designs for all kinds of holidays and the fact that they have little name tags with the year as well.”

Kayla has 28 of the figures now, plus some that are smaller Christmas ornament versions, and she has been at it for more than seven years now. “I got my first bird in 2014 as an impulse buy,” she says. “My friend and I were at Target and were instantly smitten with these little guys. We each bought one.”

Seasonal, With a Twist

Allison Grant of Aliwhitney has enlisted help on her quest to gather her flock. “I never miss out on them,” she says. “My mom is in another state, and if one of us finds them we get them for each other and ship them, it’s kind of a fun thing for us to do together from far away, too.”

Grant, who estimates she has about 30 of these cute critters, picked up the bird habit when the world went on lockdown and people were looking for things to do. “It kind of became a fun thing to collect during quarantine times.” Collecting these figures has pushed her out of her seasonal comfort zone. “I love the different ones for different seasons/holidays. It has somewhat encouraged me to have seasonal decor that I wouldn’t normally decorate for, like Valentine’s Day.”

target birds halloween

@aliwhitney / Instagram

The Trend Spreads

The birds have been so wildly popular that other retailers have gotten in on the action, too. Walmart has its own versions, and T.J. Maxx has had some as well, as evidenced by some listings on Mercari. Yes, the birds have flown into resale. The Target varieties, normally $5 in the store, go for a pretty penny on Mercari and eBay, if you are looking for any you might have missed. Regret can be an expensive proposition. 

Like Maggie, Kayla has one that got away. “There was a Halloween bird designed like a knight with a shield, and I really wish I could have gotten that one.”

These bird-loving ladies have their own ideas about what they would like to see in bird form outside of holiday versions. Allison would like an homage to the store that made it all happen. “I would love to see a Target-themed or coffee-themed bird. I think it would just be a fun limited edition type decor option!”

Something sticking in the avian area would be Kayla’s ideal. “I would love to see one look like a simple crow. But one the other hand, an extravagant phoenix bird would also be really cool.”

Maggie is thinking more of a goth aesthetic. “I think my Target bird would be a purple bird with glasses and black dress! I’d say with some cool eyeliner, but that would be hard on a bird.”