Professional Bird Watcher Gives a Fascinating Review of Red Dead Redemption 2's Wildlife

Professional Bird Watcher Gives a Fascinating Review of Red Dead Redemption 2's Wildlife

Red Dead Redemption 2 is bird watcher approved.

If you played Red Dead Redemption 2, how many birds have you watched? None? Well, you better step your game up because Red Dead Redemption 2 boasts an impressive collection of natural wildlife, and one professional bird watcher says the game might be worth playing just for that.

On a blog post published for the National Audubon Society (an organization for the protection of birds), bird watcher Nicholas Lund gives a surprising and fascinating look at how it's possible to birdwatch in Red Dead Redemption 2. "I spent most of my time finding birds, and was impressed with the breadth and relative accuracy of the species represented," Lund writes. "Birds change with habitat: Roseate Spoonbills and Great Egrets feed in the bayous of Saint Denis. Laughing Gulls and Red-footed Boobies roost along the coast, while eagles and condors soar over mountain peaks."

Some different wildlife in Red Dead Redemption 2 | Rockstar Games

Lund, who is the network manager for the Main Audubon, doesn't just detail which birds he saw in the game, but the historical context behind birdwatching in Red Dead Redemption 2's setting. "Birding as a hobby was just getting underway in the late 1800s, and much of the population, especially those living off the land as Arthur Morgan does, still primarily viewed birds as resources for food, materials, and hunting sport. The nation's landmark law protecting migratory birds was still two decades away," Lund explains.

Rockstar announced that there are some 200 unique animal species in Red Dead Redemption 2. While there are elements in the game that simply encourages hunting them for their pelts or for food, the animals are given considerable thought and lifelike behavior. Lund recalls one particular episode of theirs: "One time I had shot a Mallard and left its body on the lakeshore after taking its feathers and meat. I was nearby about 10 minutes later and noticed a Red Fox emerging from the grass and walking down towards the duck carcass, still on the shore."

There are some minor errors that I imagine only birdwatchers might notice. Lund says there are "quite a few Little Egrets in Saint Denis, which would have been a truly rare North America sighting," and that the game's California Quail is actually a different species of bird called the Northern Bobwhite. Overall though, Lund says Red Dead Redemption 2 "is absolutely the best and boldest representation of American birdlife in any video game. It's not even close."

While we didn't take into consideration the birdlife during our deliberations, USgamer did name Red Dead Redemption 2 as our 2018 Game of the Year. The scale and scope of the world contributed to our decision, and it's fascinating to see how much more in-depth Red Dead Redemption 2 goes in with its details, even if they're only noticed by members of specific groups or hobbyists.

Check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 review, and our Red Dead Redemption 2 guide for more info.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Specs: Recommended and Minimum Settings

Thanks to a listing on the Rockstar Games Launcher, we have an idea as to the PC Specs for Red Dead Redemption 2. Here are the Minimum and Recommended settings.

Starting Screen | A Great Port Is Always Worth the Wait

Whatever time it takes to make a game feel just right on a new system is well-spent.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is Finally Coming to PC (And Stadia) Next Month

The long wait is over for PC rustlers and wranglers.

Take-Two CEO Says Next-Gen Won't Send Game Development Costs Soaring

Strauss Zelnick seems optimistic about dev costs for Scarlett and PS5.

Zombies May Be Appearing in Red Dead Online, If It's Not a Glitch

Undead nightmare part two, or just another quirky bug?

More News

Nintendo Switch's North American Sales Have Surpassed the Wii U's Global Lifetime Sales

The Switch has solidly outsold its console predecessor.

Obsidian Developer Says Studio Can Focus on Games, Not Pitches, After Microsoft Buyout

Designer Brian Hines says Microsoft wants Obsidian to keep doing what's been working.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is Distancing Itself From Supply Drops and Loot Boxes

The Modern Warfare devs are ensuring you won't have to buy any weapons or attachments.

Apex Legends' New Shadowfall Mode Has Players Calling Truces and Cooperating in Unusual Ways

Players are crowdsourcing vital map information and unofficially teaming up in-game.

More on PlayStation 4

Obsidian Developer Says Studio Can Focus on Games, Not Pitches, After Microsoft Buyout

Designer Brian Hines says Microsoft wants Obsidian to keep doing what's been working.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is Distancing Itself From Supply Drops and Loot Boxes

The Modern Warfare devs are ensuring you won't have to buy any weapons or attachments.

Apex Legends' New Shadowfall Mode Has Players Calling Truces and Cooperating in Unusual Ways

Players are crowdsourcing vital map information and unofficially teaming up in-game.

Fallout 76 Getting Private Servers Next Week, But They'll Cost You

Also, the addition of NPC's in 76's Wastelanders update has been delayed to next year.

8 Minutes of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Gameplay Highlights: The Force is Finally With EA

We highlight some new and interesting examples of Fallen Order in action, from AT-ST combat to the Ninth Sister.

Why Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Doesn't Have Fast Travel

Fallen Order dispenses with a modern convenience in the name of exploration.

Is Darth Maul in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order? There's Strong Evidence For It After the Latest Reveals

Dathomir is in Fallen Order, and that could mean the return of the Baddest Man in the Galaxy.