For the past month, the world has been gripped by a singular form of madness—one based entirely around birds. There are many terms for it, but it is most commonly known as FOWL HYSTERIA.
Week after week, people from across the planet have put their lives on hold to watch 32 birds go up against each other in the world’s first-ever bracket-based bird tournament. Every Friday morning, nearly all human activity has suddenly stopped as people pause to check the results. Mass protests have taken place after certain birds were beaten; the footwear industry is still scrambling to deliver the billions of shoes that were ordered in solidarity with the shoebill after its defeat. In Chicago, hard-right mayoral candidate Paul Vallas seemed to be on track to win his race. Then he tweeted about how happy he would be if pigeons were eliminated from the real world along with the Fowl Hysteria tournament. Political analysts widely agree that the fallout from these comments contributed to his ultimate defeat.
Now, after one of the most extraordinary months in the history of this fragile blue planet, the moment of truth has finally come.
At long last, it is time to reveal the first-ever Fowl Hysteria™ Champion. The world will never be the same again.
First, if you need a refresher on how we got here, just follow these links:
After an epic, hard-fought tournament, two powerhouse birds met in the final: the American crow and the kea.
These two birds had soared above their foes in round after round, employing their bravery, their brawn, their grit, and their guile to ascend ever higher in the rankings.
But there can only be one Fowl Hysteria™ Champion. Only one bird can hoist the coveted Fowl Hysteria™ Trophy, painstakingly molded by a team of birder artisans who between them have produced Oscar statuettes, Nobel Prizes, Kids Choice Awards, and the National Medal of the Arts.
Voters had one week to cast their ballots. Now, with humility, with pride, with a sense of awe and a knowledge of the weight of this moment, we can tell you which bird prevailed.
May we have the envelope please.
THE FOWL HYSTERIA™ CHAMPION IS…
Yes, the crow did it!!!! The crow did it!!!! The crow wins the Fowl Hysteria™ tournament! The crow wins the Fowl Hysteria™ tournament! The crow wins the Fowl Hysteria™ tournament! The crow wins the Fowl Hysteria™ tournament! The crow gets the crown! CROW CROWN!
In the end, it wasn’t close. The crow walloped the kea, 64-36, as it has walloped every other bird in the tournament. Its fierce majesty, its unparalleled smarts, its sleek beauty, the richness of its iconography—in the end, no bird could compete. Even the kea—one of the greatest birds of all time, an abolitionist hero, a beguiling warrior for justice, a gorgeous goofball—was no match.
So there you have it. The crow reigns supreme. 2023 is the Year of the Crow. And the world is surely rejoicing.
Let’s look now at the completed bracket. Put this image in the history books, everyone.
We have to thank all of the birds who participated in this tournament. They are all creatures of magic and grace, and they enrich the world merely by the fact of their existence. And a special shout-out to the kea, who came so close to the ultimate prize. We are sure that its day will come.
But today belongs to the crow. Congratulations, crow. You are the first-ever Fowl Hysteria™ Champion. You are a marvel. You are one of nature’s greatest gifts. And we salute you.
Our thanks to reader Morgan O for inspiring this tournament. And our thanks to all of you, the Discourse Blog readers, who voted faithfully every week, who cheered on your favorite birds, and who made this so much fun. We can't wait for Fowl Hysteria™ 2024.
We’ll see you back here next week when we will give the crow a very special Bird of the Week tribute.
A reminder: you can check out our complete Bird of the Week list here, and get in touch with your bird suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NYT is reporting from an anonymous source in the FBI that an investigation has been opened regarding foreign bots voting in the final round. I'll be on MSNBC later with a corkboard and string to clear this up for everyone and prove that I'm being totally cool about this
it was rough to see two champs like the spotted eagle-owl and the crow seeded together in the first round, but it feels good that one of them went on to win the tournament. at the end of the day Crow left it all on the field, and that level of dedication, commitment, and taste for carrion is what this tournament is really about. congratulations to Crow—you earned it!