Birds of a Feather Rules
Birds of a Feather
Western North America
Every year, as enthusiastic birders you embark to see as many different
birds as possible. This is going to be your big year! Explore wonderful
habitats while on a quest to see as many beautiful birds as you can.
Will you follow the trends and help everyone spot something beautiful, or
will you avoid the crowds and be the only one to admire something rare? Grab your binoculars and compete to be the Top Birder!
In Birds of a Feather, players explore different habitats to find birds by playing
and revealing cards each round. There are no turns in Birds of a Feather –
everyone reveals their cards at the same time. Each round, players visit a
habitat and record the birds they see there. The more people that visit the
same habitat, the more birds there are to be seen. The number of rounds
depends on the number of players (see chart on next page). Players record
the birds they see on their score app or sheet, earning them points at the
end of the game. They also earn bonus points for recording all the birds in
a single habitat.
Whoever sees the widest variety of birds and scores the most points wins!
60 Bird cards,
5 Habitats each with:
2 of each
1 Score sheet pad
1. You may try to load the Birds of a Feather Score App on each player’s device. It has some voice over support. Alternatively you may make a copy of this spreadsheet
2. Shuffle the deck of cards.
3. Deal each player a hand of cards according to the chart.
4. Set any cards not dealt aside face down. For a 2 or 3 player game, cards from this deck will be used throughout the game.*
*Once you’re familiar with the base game with 2-3 players, check out A More Strategic 2-3 Player Variant
The Play Area
Each round, players will play a single card face down in front of themselves. This card represents the habitat they’re traveling to that round and a bird arriving at that habitat. The birds in this outer ring are referred to as the Arriving Birds.
After the first round, there will be an inner ring of previously played birds, called Lingering Birds. These Lingering Birds will be visible for players to record on their score sheets if they visit the same habitat as a Lingering Bird.
How to Play
1. Secretly choose Arriving Birds.
All players secretly choose a card from their hand and put their card face down in front of themselves. Once everyone has placed a card, move on to Step 2.
2. Reveal Arriving Birds.
Each player flips their chosen Arriving Bird face-up. If playing with 2 players, also play two cards from the top of the deck to the Arriving Birds area. If playing with 3 players, play one card instead, so there are always at least four Arriving Birds.
3. Raptors chase away Lingering Birds.
(Skip this step for the first round.)
If it is your first game, or you want to play a less aggressive game, we recommend you ignore these special rules for Raptors.
If any Raptors are revealed, discard any Lingering Birds that are in the same habitat as the Raptors. Any Arriving Birds sharing a habitat with a Raptor remain in play.
4. Record the birds seen in the app, sheet or the spreadsheet.
Each player records all of the birds that they can see in the habitat they
played this round on their score app or spreadsheet.
• Each player records the Arriving Bird they played.
• Each player records any Arriving Birds of the other players and Lingering
Birds, after the first round, in the same habitat as their played bird.
Note: If a player has already recorded a bird, they cannot record it again. There is
no benefit to seeing the same bird multiple times, aside from enjoying its beauty.
5. Remove Lingering Birds. Skip this step during the first round. For all other rounds, discard all currently Lingering Birds.
6. Arriving Birds become Lingering Birds. Move all the Arriving Birds towards the center of the table to become Lingering Birds for the next round.
7. End the game, or start a new round.
If each player has more than one card left in their hand, start a new round by returning to Step 1. If each player has only one card left, the game ends!
Keep these cards to break ties, and go to the End of the Game
Example Round with 4 Players
Everyone reveals their Arriving Birds for a new round. Teale has played a Mountain Quail , Trevor a Red-winged Blackbird , Carey an American Dipper , and Christie an Osprey . Because they’re playing the full version of the game, the Osprey scares away the Brandt’s Cormorant from the Lingering Birds before anyone records any birds in their habitats
Teale and Carey both are visiting the Mountains this round to see and record their own birds, as well as the other Mountain birds in the play area. This includes the Mountain Chickadee and Steller’s Jay from the Lingering Birds, and Carey’s American Dipper and Teale’s Mountain Quail from the Arriving Birds. Trevor visits the Wetlands with a Red-winged Blackbird and sees and records it along with the Belted Kingfisher in the Lingering Birds. Christie visits the Ocean with an Osprey and because it scared away the Brandt’s Cormorant from the Lingering Birds, she only records the Osprey .
Once everyone has recorded the birds that they see, the three remaining Lingering Birds are discarded and the four Arriving Birds are moved into the center ring to become the Lingering Birds
End of the Game
The game ends when each player only has one card left in their hand. This last card will not be played, but might be needed for a tie-breaker.
The scores of any players using the app are automatically calculated. Players using a paper score sheet earn points as follows:
• Each common recorded bird is worth 0 points, but is needed for the ALL bonus.
• Each ace recorded bird is worth 2 points.
• Every other recorded bird is worth 1 point.
• Each habitat in which a player has recorded all 7 birds is worth 3 extra points, marking ‘ALL’ on their score sheet.
Whoever has the most points has seen the most beautiful birds and wins the game! If two or more players are tied for the win, the player with the most earned ALL bonuses wins. If there is still a tie, the tied players compare their unplayed cards and the position of those birds on the score sheet. The furthest right icon wins ties and if the icons are the same, the higher up habitat wins. If there is still a tie, the tied players win together.
(i.e. the Desert Bird always wins ties, even over the Ocean Bird,
but the Ocean Bird beats the Desert ).
Once players are familiar with the game, they can add a little more strategy by having everyone pass cards from their starting hands. After cards are dealt to each player, have everyone choose a number of cards according to the chart below to pass to the player to their left. Each player then adds the cards passed to them to their hand, then play as normal.
A More Strategic 2-3 Player Variant
Once you know how to play Birds of a Feather, you can add a bit more strategy to your 2 or 3 player games by introducing drafting. With drafting, players will select their own starting hands, as well as which additional birds will be randomly revealed throughout the game.
Do not combine drafting with the Migration Variant.
Setup and Play for 2 players:
Each player will create their own hand of cards and a deck of 15 birds that will be drawn from during the game.
1. Deal each player 10 cards. Players can look at their cards, but keep them hidden from their opponents.
2. Each player simultaneously chooses one card to keep for themselves and adds it face down to a pile that will become their hand. They also choose one card to add face down to a pile that will become a draw deck. Make sure to keep the piles separate and not mix them up!
3. Players pass the unselected cards to their opponent.
4. Continue choosing cards and passing the unselected cards until there are no cards left to pass.
5. If there are cards left in the main deck, deal another 10 to each player and repeat steps 1-4 until all cards have been drafted. Each player shuffles the deck they drafted and then sets it face down within reach. They then pick up their hand and play begins.
Play Birds of a Feather the same as in the 2 player base game, but reveal one Arriving Bird from each of the two created decks every round instead of from a single deck.
Setup and Play for 3 players:
Each player will create their own hand of cards and then together create a central deck to reveal birds from.
1. Deal each player 10 cards to draft from.
2. Each player simultaneously chooses one card to keep for themselves and places it face down in a pile that will become their hand.
3. Players pass the cards they did not choose to the opponent to their left.
4. Everyone will continue choosing cards and passing the unselected cards until there are no cards left to pass.
5. Once the first 10 cards are drafted, deal another 10 cards to each player. Now, each player chooses a card to add to their hand pile, and another card to add face down to a central shared deck.
6. Pass unselected cards to the right this time.
7. Players continue selecting two cards, one for their hand and one for the center deck, and passing the unselected cards until all cards are drafted.
8. Shuffle the center deck and place it face down to the side of the play area. Then, each player picks up their hand and play begins.
Play Birds of a Feather the same as in the 3 player base game, revealing one Arriving Bird from the created deck every round.
Birding with friends is great, but birding alone can be fun too! Special thanks to Ricky Royal for the original solitaire rules.
Setup: Shuffle the deck and deal yourself a 13-card hand.
1. Choose one card to play. This card determines your habitat and therefore the birds you see, as usual. Ignore the Raptor Rule for cards you play, as well as cards revealed in Step 2.
2. Reveal the top three cards from the deck.
3. Record any of these birds that are in your habitat including the one you played, the 3 newly Arrived Birds, and the Lingering Birds from the previous round. (In the solitaire variant, you do not need the score app or a score sheet--just keep the cards you’ve seen!)
4. Skip this step for the first round. Otherwise, clear the Lingering Birds from the previous round, and move the birds revealed this round to become Lingering Birds.
5. Choose one card from your hand to discard, then draw the top card of the deck. Repeat Steps 1–5 until you are unable to draw a card from the top of the deck. That’s the end of the game! Count your score as normal to see how you did!
For an even greater challenge, include the Raptor Rule!
|25 or less||Forgot your binoculars?|
|26-30||Backyard bird watcher.|
|41 or more||Award winning birder!|
Tracking migrations and seasons
Journey North is a citizen science program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum that focuses on migratory species and the collection of data about them. Some of the birds that are featured in Birds of a Feather: Western North America are birds that Journey North collects migratory information about.
Visit their website to find more information about how you can help scientists and researchers track birds (and plants!) that are in North America. Find resources for parents and educators, including lesson plans and activities for a variety of ages, that can be used in connection with this game.
Games can help nurture a curiosity and life-long love of nature and environmental stewardship. Programs like Journey North can be the spark that leads to the next generation of environmental scientists, zoologists, botanists, and more. Thank you for purchasing Birds of a Feather: Western North American and helping us support the great work at Journey North.
Find out more at: www.journeynorth.org
Quick Play Summary:
Shuffle the deck and deal each player a hand of cards based on the chart below. Make sure everyone has a way to record their score.
How to Play
Birds of a Feather is played over a series of rounds, with each player playing and revealing cards at the same time. Each round, players visit a habitat to see the birds there.
Players record the birds they see on their score app or sheet to earn points.
1. Play Arriving Birds face down.
2. Reveal Arriving Birds.
3. Arriving Raptors chase away any Lingering Birds in matching habitats.
4. Record birds seen in your visited habitat.
5. Remove the Lingering Birds.
6. Arriving Birds become Lingering Birds.
7. If all players have only one card left, the game ends. If not, start the next round.
The score app automatically totals points earned for the players using it.
Players using a paper score sheet determine their scores by counting the
points for the birds they recorded.
Whoever has the most points wins the game! Ties are broken by comparing
unplayed cards. See the End of the Game section for more details on ties.
Game Designer: Teale Fristoe
Card Artist: Trevor Fristoe
Cover Artist & Graphic Designer:
Solo Variant: Ricky Royal
Rules Editor: T. Caires
App Developer: Danielle Anderson
Communication & QA: Carrie Linden
© 2022 Snowbright Studio