Michele Berger
Published: 05/24/2011

With hundreds of millions of people helping Rovio’s Angry Birds thwart the mean green pigs who want to steal their eggs, the electronic birds have their greatest chance of survival yet. Through a new partnership with Rovio, BirdLife International hopes to channel that passion to help real imperiled bird species, including the many species migrating right now.

“We were really surprised to discover the similarity between the Angry Birds’ fight for survival and what is going on in the real world,” Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, said in a press release announcing the collaboration. “Many species of wild birds facing extinction are threatened by invasive alien animals like feral pigs and escaped marmosets—the parallels are extraordinary.”

Though the partnership’s still in its infancy, the idea is to promote conservation action—and more specifically, BirdLife’s Preventing Extinction Program—and provide gamers information about endangered bird species in a medium to which they’re already attuned. The first action was an Easter release at the end of April. And according to Adrian Long of BirdLife, more are coming soon.

Rovio doesn’t specify which species its Angry Birds are, though bird expert Kenn Kaufman did give his thoughts to articles editor Alisa Opar back in October. If Kaufman’s right, none of the birds in the game—based on markings alone, he IDs them as a blue finch, a Northern cardinal, a greater Antillean bullfinch, a yellow warbler, and a snow bunting—are endangered, though the blue finch is near threatened.

Still, it’s a perfect opportunity for BirdLife, for which Audubon is the North American partner. “By working with BirdLife International we have found a natural partner,” said Hed. “We hope to raise awareness of the extinction crisis among our customers and invite them to join us helping BirdLife prevent threatened species from disappearing forever.”

For more ways to help the 190 critically endangered species, check out BirdLife’s Preventing Extinction Program.

[Photos: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]

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