Some might think our year-long quest to find the Greatest Animal in the History of Video Games is for the birds.
You know what? We think so, too.
From actual birds (Kazooie) to humanoid races of birds (think any MMO) to people birds (Larry) to licensed birds (think any penguin movie), we here at Multiplayer pulled together and named every bird we could think of to put in our nominees list.
At the end of the month, our brilliant panel of judges will decide which bird should represent the whole lot of avians at the end of the year against other species.
In the meantime, take a look at our list, pick your favorites and make suggestions. Here goes...
This giant bird of prey goes after hero Wander by swooping down to attack him. The only way to kill the beast is for Wander to climb atop him and avoid getting thrown off (bird'll do barrel rolls -- fun).
"Animal Crossing"'s museum curator loves fish and fears bugs and will talk your ear off about any fish or bug you donate to the museum.
Who said ostriches can't fly? DK's fast-running pal wears running shoes (natch) and can fly if you mash the jump button enough.
In the "Click Clock Wood" level, your job is to take care of a baby eagle from egg to adult, feeding it worms and collecting jiggys while you're at it.
The "wingman" of the "Star Fox" games (sorry), Falco is an expert pilot who helps his pal Fox in times of need. He's also a playable character in the last two "Smash Bros." games.
Franklin is a nervous turkey who appears in the late afternoon on Thanksgiving. He hides whenever he can and will give you a reward if you steal the knife and fork from the dinner table by the wishing well.
A sailor suit-donning seagull who gives the player rare items, Gulliver can be found washed up on the beach, telling stories about a shipwreck. In "Wild World," Gulliver is an astronaut and flies through town in a space ship.
The ex-superhero turned incompetent attorney made his way from the popular Adult Swim cartoon into his own "Phoenix Wright"-style video game. His sidekick and legal secretary is a purple eagle named Avenger.
Starting off in her pal Banjo's backpack, Kazooie is a Red Crested Breegull with egg-throwing abilities. In "Banjo-Tooie" she can transform into a fire-breathing dragon. Oh, and she can play the Kazoo.
Protagonist Rau with his spirit guide Kuzo must stop evildoers from obtaining the mark of Kri. Kuzo comes in handy because Rau can see through his bird companion's eyes and use him to scout an area before heading into it.
The basketball legend of the Boston Celtics, Bird starred in 1983's "Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One" and later "Jordan vs. Bird: One on One," where you can play as the sharp-shootin' b-baller to score three-pointers like nobody's business.
Kamui warrior Nakoruru is assisted by a hawk named Mahaha who aids her in finding out why plagues, strange phenomena and war are occurring across the land.
You can find these pelicans working different shifts at the post office. In "Animal Crossing," is "going pelican" synonymous with "going postal"?
The leader of the Ravens first appeared as the boss in "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island." An ordinary bird turned the hulk of ravens through magical enhancement, a defeated Raphael became a constellation in the sky.
The unsavory fast food mascot (not the King, but the other one) dutifully made his way into the BK series of Xbox games. Both disturbing and fattening.
Players take control of a sneaker-wearing kiwi called Tiki. Tiki must rescue his kiwi friends who've been kidnapped by a leopard seal.
Pro skater Tony Hawk is also known as the "Birdman" for his surname and numerous aerial tricks which you can attempt to perform in any of his series of "Tony Hawk" games.
These red birds drop Bob-ombs on Mario and co. throughout the levels of Subcon. Although if they fly low enough, Mario can hitch a ride.
Despite being fierce warriors and hunters, these birdfolk were driven into hiding and have a great distrust for other races. They eschew all religion and magic and totally hate the "tastes like chicken" joke.
Outland's ancient race of birds have great magical powers and (oddly) breed their own species of ravens and owls to use as guards.
An extinct race of avian humanoids, the Aviansie were favored by the god Amadyl. A few were frozen in the God Wars Dungeon but later thawed and resumed battle with their various foes.
"Path of Radiance" had laguz changelings -- humanoid creatures that could change into powerful animals. The avian species of laguz are divided into ravens, hawks and herons, with wind and bows as their weakness.
These large and typically yellow and flightless birds have been a staple of "Final Fantasy" games since "Final Fantasy II." They're so loved that they've gotten their own spin-off series, a pretty spectacular feat for animals without their own CGI movie.
The Chozo are a technologically advanced alien race of bird-like bi-peds who raised protagonist Samus Aran and outfitted her with a powerful exoskeleton suit.
Without these winged beasts with eagles' heads and lions' bodies, most members of the Alliance wouldn't be getting anywhere by air.
In this NES title, you're a detective named Mr. Stevenson searching for your kidnapped daughter. Along the way are these "lucky birds" which will kill Stevenson upon touch, but if he catches them first, he'll be able to get special abilities (makes perfect sense).
Seriously, there are too many pokebirds to name here, but we trust you'll let us know your favorites.
These bird-like humanoids can be found on Dragon Roost Island. Capable of flying at high speeds once they've acquired wings, Rito are the mail carriers of Hyrule (and are much more reliable than the USPS).
Although they lost the ability to fly, these feathered humanoids have sharp talons that are as good as any weapon. "Do the chickens have large talons?" Yes. Yes, they do.
These bird-like bipeds inhabit the continent of Mindartia. Religious zealots who are often violent, the Yagudo's main issue with outsiders is a dispute over land which they think is rightfully theirs by birthright and tradition.
When Levant, a young Cocoon Master, sets off to save his village, he meets a half-man, half-bird creature named Kikinak in the Dragonfly Forest who he must defeat to move on in his quest.
Straight from Totilo: "He flew from his master's arm, ready to strike terror in players' hearts. He could be defeated with a well-placed round-house kick. Yes, that's right: this game asked you to kick a flying bird."
In the 3D side-scroller for XBLA, Clyde could mutate himself into a different animal with unique abilities. When in chicken form, Clyde can fly. There are also other chickens in the game which Clyde can toss indiscriminately.
An enemy to the LocoRoco, this pesky owl spits out black spiky things to harm the player. Not cool.
The princess must rescue Toad and defeat a giant owl, the protector of Hoo's Wood, by avoiding his fell swoops and tossed eggs.
Not much is known about the Sand Bird except that it is made of sand and has no eyes (creepy). After Mario helps hatch this legendary best, he rides it around a tower to collect red coins.
As Inspector Tequila, when you go into "Tequila Time," white doves fly out in typical John Woo movie fashion. There are also little origami birds that you collect throughout the game -- 250 to be exact.
Like the name suggests, use your DS to take down chickens and stop this poultry pandemonium once and for all.
Gamespot summed it up best: "'Chicken Shoot'" is like 'Duck Hunt' for idiots." Use your Wii-mote to hunt hapless chickens... idiot.
Like that damned dog, the ducks in the classic NES game provided fond memories for many a gamer. Wide-eyed and frantically flapping their wings, they sadly could not escape a gamer's quick Zapper finger.
In this 1990 Game Boy title, when a princess gets kidnapped it's not up to Mario or Link to save her -- it's up to Amazing Penguin. Take control of AP as he travels through a series of puzzles to get to the girl. So amazing.
Use gadgets and solve puzzles to help penguins escape the zoo. Sounds similar to another penguin game...
This fun Flash-based game probably cost companies tons of money as office workers wasted time playing a bat-wielding Yeti who aimed to hit a penguin as far as he could.
The game based on the CGI movie features penguins that dance.
The game based on the CGI movie features penguins that surf.
The game based on the CGI movie features penguins that use gadgets.
The game based on the documentary film features penguins that march.
The game based on the stop-motion animated film features
penguins chickens that run.
The game based on the CGI movie features a chicken that's known for being crazy because he thinks the sky is falling.
Harry Potter's loyal and intelligent owl was a present from Hagrid in his first year. She delivered messages for Harry and often seemed to understand what he was saying.
A wise old owl, Kaepora Gaeboara was thought to be the reincarnation of an ancient Sage. He watches over Link and guides him throughout his journey.
Collectibles are now tired staples of video games, but "Condemned" so far is the only game that rewards you for finding and collecting dead birds. Eww.
We know we forgot some. Let us know your favorites as well as which ones the judges should consider for the top prize. And check back at the end of the month for the results.