by Rebecca Vessenes
Problem:

The first image in the puzzle is an empty binary tree. Branches that extend up and to the left should be interpreted as positive, as indicated by the sign “Positively Satisfying Perches.” “Satisfying” also clues that we want to know whether words (and birds) satisfy the conditions at the nodes.

Next, seventeen words are given. Each word needs to be placed (based on its linguistic and typographical properties) on a node of the tree so that for each non-leaf node, any nodes in the positive direction satisfy the condition placed at that node, and any nodes in the negative direction do not. There is one valid way to sort the collection of words, as shown in the image below. For example, GOLD, OLIVE, and ASLANT are typographically BOLD, while CORAL, GRAY, and SMALL are not. There is a table below showing which words have which properties.

Below the words are pictures of thirteen fictional birds in alphabetical order by name. Each bird’s name can be placed on a leaf of the tree by starting at the root and moving in a positive or negative direction depending on whether the name (as written in the typeface of the question mark below each image) satisfies each condition. For example, FLIT is not underlined, it is beheadable and bold, and it is not aslant, so it ends up on the leaf marked GOLD. Each bird’s name/typeface also satisfies the word at the leaf where it is placed. The second image below shows where each bird name is placed.

The number of birds that perch on each leaf is an index into the word on that leaf, giving a letter as shown in the final table below. Reading these letters from left to right spells the answer, BIG CRUNCH.

Tree solution (“~” indicates a hollowed-out font, and the background color indicates the font color for all non-black fonts):

Solution with bird perches:

Word table (columns are properties):

 ABECEDARIAN ASLANT AUTONYM BEHEADABLE BOLD CORAL COTTON GOLD GRAY HOLLOWED-OUT NOUN OLIVE POLYSYLLABIC SMALL UNDERLINED UNHYPHENATED UNIVOCALIC ABECEDARIAN Y N N Y N Y N N N Y N Y N Y Y N ASLANT N N Y Y N N Y N N N N Y N N Y Y AUTONYM N N N Y N Y N N Y Y N Y N N Y N BEHEADABLE N Y N N N N N N Y N Y Y N N Y N BOLD N N N Y N N N N N Y Y N N N Y Y CORAL N N N Y N N N Y N Y N Y Y N Y N COTTON N N N N N N N Y N Y N Y N N Y Y GOLD N N N Y Y Y N N N Y N N N N Y Y GRAY N Y N Y N N N Y N Y N N N N Y Y HOLLOWED-OUT N N N N Y N N N N N Y Y N N N N NOUN N Y Y N N N Y N N N N N N N Y N OLIVE N Y N Y Y N N Y N N Y Y N N Y N POLYSYLLABIC N N Y N N N N Y N N N N N N Y N SMALL N N N Y N N N N Y N Y N N N Y Y UNDERLINED N N N N N Y N N N Y N N Y N Y N UNHYPHENATED N N Y N N N Y N N Y N N Y N N N UNIVOCALIC N Y N N N N N Y N N N N Y N N Y

For reference, we are using the following definitions:

• Abecedarian: All the letters in the word are in alphabetical order.
• Autonym: The word describes itself. Note that for clarity, none of the color words were their own color.
• Beheadable: Removing the first letter yields another word.
• Univocalic: The word uses only one of the letters “A,” “E,” “I,” “O,” “U,” per the Wikipedia definition. Including “Y” in the definition would produce the same solution.

Birds (green indicates font features used for sorting):

 Bird Fandom ABECEDARIAN AUTONYM BEHEADABLE POLYSYLLABIC UNIVOCALIC ASLANT BOLD SMALL HOLLOWED-OUT UNDERLINED Beat Mega Man N N Y N N Y Y Y N N Big Bird Sesame Street N Y N Y Y Y N N Y N Chip Little Engine that Could N N Y N Y Y Y N N N Eggy Penguins of Madagascar Y N N Y Y Y N Y N Y Flit Pocahontas N N Y N Y N Y N N N Gale Angry Birds N N Y N N N N Y N N Hedwig Harry Potter N N N Y N N Y N Y N Iago Aladdin N N Y Y N N N N Y N Owl Winnie-the-Pooh N Y N N Y Y N N Y N Scuttle Little Mermaid N N Y Y N Y Y N N N Shoe Shoe Comic N N Y N N Y N N N N Tux Linux Y N N N Y N N N Y Y Woodstock Charlie Brown N N N Y Y N N Y N N
 Word Order Perch Index Birds 1 ABECEDARIAN 2 Eggy, Tux 2 OLIVE 3 Beat, Chip, Scuttle 3 GOLD 1 Flit 4 CORAL 1 Gale 5 GRAY 2 Iago, Shoe 6 UNHYPHENATED 1 Big Bird 7 NOUN 1 Owl 8 COTTON 1 Woodstock 9 HOLLOWED-OUT 1 Hedwig