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By Ellen Jakubowski, Communications Specialist, Bird Studies Canada

2018 is a huge year – both in the bird world, and for football (a.k.a. soccer) fandom! This summer, Canada is hosting the International Ornithological Congress in Vancouver, and the FIFA World Cup tournament is unfolding in Russia.
If you’re a die-hard bird fan, we hope you’ll help Bird Studies Canada in our quest to choose eight North American bird species to represent the continent in the Twitter World Cup. This World Cup (#TWC_Birds) is a friendly international competition hosted by the British Ornithologists’ Union. Its goal is to get people voting and tweeting in support of some of the world’s most remarkable birds!
Through Twitter polls, each continent will select a shortlist of species to proceed to the international playoffs. You can weigh in on the bird species to represent North America by following @BirdStudiesCan (the North American host) and #TWC_Birds_NAmerica. There will two rounds of voting, with about two polls happening per week from now until the end of June. Then, you will have the chance to vote during the international playoffs starting in July! We encourage you to retweet throughout the tournament, and get your own followers in on the fun.
The longlist of North American birds (32 species) vying for World Cup glory was hand-picked by a panel of Bird Studies Canada staff. It was not an easy task. In the process, we considered each species’ range and distribution (wanting to represent each region within North America, but not wanting to overlap with other continents’ selections); conservation status; taxonomic classification (aiming to strike a balance across different groups of birds); and X factor. In the process, we had to rule out a huge number of excellent candidates, including some of our own favourites. We hope you will appreciate the merits of each species we selected, and give your preferred contestant your full support!
If you like, you can also keep an eye on the competition. Here are the other participating host organizations:
South America – hosted by the American Bird Conservancy (@ABCBirds1)
Africa – hosted by the African Bird Club (@AfricaBirdClub)
Asia – hosted by the Oriental Bird Club (@OrientBirdClub)
Oceania – hosted by BirdLife Australia (@BirdLifeOz)
Middle East – hosted by the Ornithological Society of the Middle East (@_OSME)
Europe and Antarctica – hosted by the British Ornithologists’ Union (@IBIS_journal)
Even those with little interest in soccer are often swept up in the excitement and spirit of international competition of a World Cup year. Our hope is that the high-profile International Ornithological Congress and Vancouver International Bird Festival, in concert with #YearoftheBird and #TWC_Birds, will do the same – inspiring more people than ever to celebrate and support “Team Bird”!
The longlist of North American birds (32 species; see the bracket below) vying for World Cup glory was hand-picked by a panel of Bird Studies Canada staff. It was not an easy task…

The North American component of this tournament includes birds that breed only in, or predominantly in, Canada, the U.S. (including Hawaii), and/or Mexico.

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