Birdo, Birdo, Birdo, what can I say about Birdo, uhhh, Ostro, no wait Catherine, or is it Birdetta? Well either way, what can I say that hasn't already been said? Well not much but that's not going to stop me cracking open this can of worms and telling all you fine folks at home the strange tale of a pink dinosaur with a twenty six year spanning identity crisis.
From go-karting to egg based warfare Birdo has been a returning character in the Mario universe since 1987, orginally there were multiple Birdos in the universe until she was identified as an individual in the Mario spin off titles much in the same way as Yoshi and Toad. Birdo first appeared as a boss and wandering enemy in Doki Doki Panic, the game that would later be re-skinned as Super Mario Bros 2. Birdo's entry in the Super Mario Bros 2 manual appears as follows: ''He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called Birdetta'', though this is often omitted. The Japanese trailer for the game even has her speaking with a masculine voice and acting foppishly while she sits on a coach with a rather flamboyant feather boa, it gives her the air of a (and I really do hate this term) drag queen.
'But Abi!' I hear you cry, 'Birdo shoots eggs! How could she not be a girl?' To which I say YOSHI! Mario's trusted, male, egg laying stead. Heck I'm not even sure Nintendo understands how egg laying works, Birdo shoots them out her face and Yoshi can even eat himself into an egg, anyway....In later games Birdo was voiced with a sequence of horn like noises and depending on which game you play these are either deep or high pitched, she even varies from low tones when calm and high pitched when angry in certain games, which added to the air of mystery. A trophy in Smash Bros Brawl lists Birdo as ''a creature of indeterminate gender'' and uses the pronoun 'it'.
''A pink creature of indeterminate gender that some say would rather be called Birdetta. A big ribbon on its head is its most distinguishing feature. In Super Mario Bros. 2, you can return fire on Birdo by jumping on the eggs shot from its mouth. Be careful not to get psyched out by fake-egg fireballs!''
The UK version of the Mario Strikers website repeatedly refers to Birdo with male pronouns but ask Nintendo America and Nintendo of Europe and shes a girl . A confusing case indeed, Birdo's gender keeps flip flopping between titles and translations but after a rather bizarre quest in the Japan exclusive game title, Captain Rainbow, Birdo's identity as a proud transgender character was backed up with the presence of the *cough* mystery vibrating quest item titled as ''proof that the owner is a woman'', which is found in her house, under a pillow.
So, how should you address Birdo in the future? Well any practicing transvestite or transgender woman will tell you, myself included, female pronouns all the way. With the makeup, mannerisms and her incredibly flirtatious attitude I have no doubt in my mind Birdo is a fully qualified girly girly, even if her voice does change more often then a puberty stricken teenage boy.
So next time you're playing Mario Tennis why not pick our darling dinosaur, she's a unique character and sure to bring more fun to the table then that plain old Koopa Troopa.
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