Blue Jay by Dawn Huczek
A peaceful scene, sure, but look at that crest: This blue jay is angry! Photo by Dawn Huczek
First things first: We at Ranger Rick do NOT condone shooting birds (or any other animals) out of a slingshot.

It’s against company policy.

BUT. . . when we were working on Click the Birdie, our new iPad game app for kids, a certain other app involving birds came up a few times. It’s popular. Okay, maybe even addictive. (Does playing during work hours count as research? No? Darn.)

But we wanted our own bird app to be fun AND educational AND non-violent. So our app lets players capture birds on camera—no slingshots necessary.

Still, even the animal lovers at Ranger Rick can appreciate the fun in Angry Birds—and REAL angry birds. So here are a few of our favorite avian toughies.

Cardinal.  Ever seen a cardinal attack a window? Or a car’s side-view mirror? That bird doesn’t have anything against your house or car. It sees its own reflection and thinks it is a rival for territory.

American crow. Crows are famously smart birds. But they can also hold a grudge. A recent study found that crows remember people who have bugged them in the past—even years later. A researcher wore a distinctive mask while trapping and banding several crows. Crows HATE being banded. So right after the birds were released, they gathered around, scolding and mobbing the researcher. Five years later, a scientist in that same mask got the same angry reaction.

Blue jay. This bright blue bird is known for the crest on top of its head—and its feisty attitude. If you ever wonder what the blue jay in your yard is thinking, that crest gives a pretty good clue: The higher the crest, the higher the jay’s level of aggression.

Mockingbird. Mockingbirds are notoriously aggressive and protective of their nests. Exhibit A: In 2007, the Postal Service sent letters to some Tulsa, Oklahoma, customers, warning them that a local mockingbird had repeatedly attacked postal workers on their block. The Postal Service deals with aggressive dogs all the time—but rarely with birds. So the service used its usual form letter for owners of aggressive dogs. But in the letter, the words “your dog” were crossed off—and replaced with “a mockingbird.” Beware of bird!

Of course, these birds aren’t exactly angry—they are protecting their nests or their territory or trying to fend off an attacker.

If you or your kids would like to learn more about native birds from Hawaii to the East Coast—while playing a fun game!—check out Click the Birdie at the App Store. You can also test your bird knowledge with our quiz “Are You a Bird Brainiac?” Also, we’d like to tip our hat to this attempt to link the characters from Angry Birds to real bird species.