Top 10 – Birds
The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted the results of last week’s vote. Well we’re certainly not ones to chicken out of a tough list, but we did flock together with Kevin from The Mental Attic to get the job done. He helped us to gather up a veritable aviary drawn from geek culture, and try and arrange them in to some kind of logical order. I don’t know what you do for fun on a Thursday night but this is our kind of party at GeekOut.
Welcome to our Top 10 Birds.
10) Birdperson – Rick & Morty
There are a wealth of bird people, from the brilliant Birdman starring Michael Keaton, to the frankly stupid birdmen of Ugly Americans (too beautiful for this world). In between – and I mean practically slap bang in the middle of those two extremes – we find the avian alien, best friend and fellow soldier to Rick Sanchez.
Much like everything else in Rick & Morty, Birdperson is a parody, in this case one of Buck Rogers character The Hawk. He is wise, but completely deadpan, seeming to offer his sage advice despite the tedium of doing so, and that wisdom is earned, Birdperson has seen some stuff! Stuff that has seen he, Rick, and all their friends on the universe’s most wanted list, but no spoilers here. Birdperson is proof that the funniest lines can be delivered better in monotone, quite a stark contrast to the rest of the series.
9) Kroot – Warhammer 40K
Amongst the races that ally themselves with the Tau greater good there are many other races, and the Tau themselves welcome these willing recruits to shore up their own military weaknesses with the understanding that they work for the Tau and are ultimately meaningless tools in service of their ultimate goals. If you’re familiar with the grey-skins then you know they’re lousy in melee. The Kroot are not.
Kroot do not look like birds, that’s fair, although one might mark a certain resemblance to a plucked parrot. Well it’s fairly obvious that the jagged and hardened mouths are beaks and not teeth, on the warriors and their monstrous Knarlocs alike, but the quills around their heads are in fact bald feathers, they actually have something of a plucked parrot look about them. The kroot’s hollow bones allow them to leap incredible distances into battle, making them superb shock troops, and sacrificial pawns for the unrivalled Tau artillery.
8) The Arakkoa – World of Warcraft
The Bird people of Draenor, the Arakkoa are a race that has gone through much, from exile to corruption and everything in between, yet still keeping their traditions and history alive.
When players first stormed through the Dark Portal in the Burning Crusade, it was rare to meet an Arakkoa with friendly intentions, most of them antagonistic scavengers working on dark rituals, sometimes invading the sacred places of the Draenei.
But it wasn’t until we reached the pristine Draenor of the past that we learned their full history. They used to be regal Sun-worshipping birdmen, under an oppressive ultra-religious regime that sent anyone in opposition down to the surface to the Sethekk Hollow, where they underwent a terrible curse that took the gift of flight from them and turned them into the hunched Crow crones we know.
We also saw the pride and nobility of these outcasts, and how they opposed their oppressors for a chance of a life for them and their children. In this regard, they were closer to their Apexis Empire forbearers than these false leaders could ever hope to be.
As an avid WoW player, the Arakkoa are another example of how Blizzard does wonders in expanding their own world, adding new details that make the lore so interesting to learn and enjoy!
7) Duck Guy – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared
So much nope on a stick, but this is the fantastic series of videos that aired between 2011-2016. If you’ve not seen us talk about these guys before, we can’t recommend them highly enough, but be warned: They are videos that start innocently enough, then turn to shock and gore (Although it’s rather tame really). It’s basically just a series of shock videos, which are open to interpretation.
The Duck Guy then is literally a duck who talks and is a guy. He’s probably the most intellectual of the three main characters, however that doesn’t stop him from being occasionally susceptible to the lies of the antagonists of the show. He’s proof that not all birds are in fact “bird brained”, but the way he disappears is a rather shocking conclusion. Now, who’d like some hoisin sauce?
6) Duck Hunt
One of those games that everyone and their dog* has heard of, Duck Hunt was one of the few games that really took advantage of the gun peripheral you could get for the NES, known as the NES Zapper. Here’s a rather interesting article written in 2011 on the NES Zapper. So really, when we think of Duck Hunt, we generally think more of this peripheral, or the dog, than the ducks.
But if it weren’t for the fact that the dog was going to laugh at you, there might have been no reason to shoot them ducks. You didn’t want that stupid laugh to happen, so you became the best sniper of ducks ever. Why? BECAUSE DAMN THAT STUPID DOG!
Excuse me… I’m having a traumatic flashback of playing Duck Hunt.
*Yes, intentional pun.
5) Kaepora Gaebora – The Legend of Zelda
The name might be unfamiliar but if I say “annoying Owl from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” you’ll instantly know who I’m talking about, right?
Poor Kaepora, he just wants to help out by giving you helpful tips as slowly as he can, keeping you from the adventuring. He’ll take his time, if not on the conversations then with his long and slow animations, so be patient.
But we need to give credit where it’s due, the guy does a good job and tells you important things when you’re starting out! Also, if the Gossip Stones hold any truth, he’s the reincarnation of the Sage of Light.
He’s been around more than just in Ocarina of Time, appearing in Majora’s Mask to give you the teleportation song, in Four Swords to offer guidance, and Zelda’s father in Skyward Sword is a man named Gaepora who bears a striking resemblance to this big wise bird!
4) Falco – Star Fox
The Han Solo of the Star Fox universe. He’s cocky and brash but behind the bravado and sometimes-aloof attitude, there’s a good person…and he always shoots first, and never misses!
Fox might be the leader of the Star Fox team but Falco might be the most popular and beloved. Maybe it’s because of his attitude, we all love the bad boy, or maybe it’s because of the NPC team members he’s the one that annoys you the least, taking out enemies on his own most of the time…unlike a certain Frog and Hare…
He’s been around for every game, and even in the rather controversial Star Fox Adventures, the best part is when he returns to lend you a hand, wearing cool shades because he’s that much of a badass! He even comes in with a cool line:
“Hey McCloud! Different time, different planet but you still need Falco’s Help! It’s good to see ya, buddy!”
3) Chocobo – Final Fantasy
You need to make your way to the other side of the continent but are too weak or too tired to fight your way through? No worries, just go to your nearest Chocobo forest and get one of these lovely big yellow birds to carry you there! They’re swift, nimble but they don’t have much in the way of loyalty, so the moment you climb off, they go away!
Chocobos are a recurring species in Final Fantasy, appearing in most of the games, often as dismissible transports for convenient travel across vast distances without having to fear a giant monster showing up in your path. They’re cute, lovable, and we all adore the noises they make.
And as someone who became a professional Chocobo wrangler in Final Fantasy VII, with a dash of geneticist, I’ll tell you that creating the perfect chocobo, capable of flight where others can’t, takes many tries, multiple generations and selective breeding. It’s tough stuff!
But in this Top 10, I think we need to make special mention to Boco, the most famous of all Chocobos, Bartz’s personal mount in Final Fantasy V. Never has there been a more loyal bird, he never leaves and dutifully waits for you to come back. And among all of Final Fantasy’s characters, he’s the only one to find love, get married and have kids in the middle of the game!
The world is ending, sure, but when that perfect chocobette stands in front of you, you can’t walk away! Thank you for teaching us this important lesson, Boco!
2) Ho-Oh – Pokemon
From appearing in the first episode of the Pokemon anime, Ho-Oh has been around since the 90s. We all remember that Ash never was able to see that flying rainbow bird ever again, even though he described it to Professor Oak and everything. Ho-Oh wasn’t to be officially released until the next generation – Meaning we knew there had to be more than 150 even after we had seen all 151 of them. (Ha!)
So Ho-Oh is a bit of an odd one. It was one of the main legendary Pokemon in a game (Pokemon Gold) and therefore was quite a memorable encounter. We put Ho-Oh in the list above the three legendary birds of Kanto, as those three kind of felt “tacked on”. They were there, but that’s all we can really say about them. Ho-Oh had a presence about it – and it’s a rather memorable rainbow bird design as well.
1) Hedwig – Harry Potter
The little snow owl tops our list for being one of the most important characters in the Harry Potter stories, without actually saying a single word. As she was not of a native species to England, Harry had to kind of bargain with the Dursleys to let Hedwig out at night. This became an important fact for Harry, as he was able to still communicate with the Wizarding world when he was at home. He wasn’t supposed to do this of course…
Being an incredibly proud owl, Hedwig showed a certain lack of interest in weirder birds (Hello Ron’s bird whose name we can barely remember). But regardless, throughout the series Hedwig wasn’t portrayed as anything more than as a great bird… And what a bird she was. From delivering messages, to just being a good friend to Harry and co, Hedwig was a pretty alright bird – and you can’t ask for more than that in a Top 10 list.
We’ve got a bad habit around here of tackling the big topics, there was so much to choose from and so much got cut from the list they’d make their own list one day. We’re not trying to preen or peacock, we’re just very proud of what we do. Here’s the weekly nod to those entries knocked of their perch by bigger and badder birds.
Big Bird – Sesame Street
Though flightless, Cathartidae Flavum Gigantis has demonstrated remarkable knowledge of rudimentary mathematics, linguistics, object identification, tool use, conflict resolution, and communication skills. Shockingly long-lived for avian species and limited to a very small and isolated territory (Sesame Street, Queens, New York City), the species is thought to consist of one adult individual who has adopted a symbiotic relationship with the larger community of creatures within its environment.
“Big Bird” is most notable for its yellow plumage and tendancy to educate young children on basic matters of literacy, numeracy, and the human experience. How exactly an oversized condor (or maybe canary) came to have such a broad understanding of the human experience remains a mystery.
The Bird Is The Word – Family Guy
You may be familiar with this one, certainly you will have heard. Everybody’s heard about the bird, and- well… the bird is the word. The song Surfin Bird by the Trashmen was originally released in 1963, and now shares fame in a similar vein to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, a song to irritate and annoy to extremes. The season seven episode of Family Guy featured the song at length with Peter singing it constantly, loudly and obnoxiously, resulting in Brian and Stewie taking the record and smashing it to pieces. Then Peter meets Jesus. Family Guy, everybody!
I won’t lie, I also fell pray to the short lived fad of asking people if they too had heard, yet another example of pop-culture spawning memes like it has done for centuries, long before the advent of television. That is also the major reason the song and its corresponding Family Guy episode landed here, mostly because it’s hard to make a meme out of fighting a giant chicken.
And so, we come to roost. Plenty of good birds were left behind, take the opportunity to tell us any we may not have consdered in the comments section down below, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and no, I don’t have a Twitter pun. While you’re at it, help us choose our Top 10 for next week…
Keep your beaks to the wind…