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People Watching

by Catherine Wu


We start by noticing that the puzzle is bird-themed, based on the “Tweeter” tweets, “flocking” and some of the colorful descriptions provided. This puzzle uses bird call mnemonics, as clued in the flavor by “recall what they said” as well as a vague description to identify the bird in each tweet. There are a few break-in points, including “O sweet Canada” and “maids, maids, maids please put the tea kettle on.” Once the birds are identified, we can use the likes on the tweet to index into the bird name. In order, the birds are:

Bird NameMnemonicDescriptionLikesCluephrase
Carolina WrenTea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettleDashing white eyebrow6I
Chestnut-sided WarblerPleased-pleased-pleased-ta-meechaYellow hat17B
Song SparrowMaids, maids, maids please put the kettle onPlump lady in tweed6P
Eastern TowheeDrink your teaOrange waistcoat3S
Common PoorwillPoor-willSnakeskin pattern blended in with the background1C
Red-eyed VireoHere I am where are youEyes bloodshot9I
White-throated SparrowO sweet Canada, Canada, CanadaYellow eye shadow5E
Eastern MeadowlarkBut-i-do-love-you-spring-of-the-yearYellow shirt7N
Chuck-will's-widowChuck-wills-widowSad lady’s (Common Poorwill’s) twin1C
Great Horned OwlWho's awake? Me tooBedhead (ear tufts)3E
Olive-sided FlycatcherQuick three beersWhite tie14C
Barred OwlWho-cooks-for-you, who-cooks for you allStripes7O
KilldeerKill-deerN/A (name is descriptive enough)5D
Tufted TitmousePeter-peter-peterCharlie Chaplin mustache5E

We get the clue phrase IBP SCIENCE CODES, which references the IBP bird codes. Specifically, we are looking for the 6-letter codes, which are based on the scientific name of the bird.

We also notice some extraneous information or weird wording in each of the tweets. Going back to look at those now, we see that the 6-letter codes for each bird can be found within the tweet, with one letter changed. We read the changed letters in order to get ANSWER HINDWING.

Bird Name6-letter CodeLocation in TweetGiven StringNew Letter
Carolina WrenTHRLUD…star ludicrous…TARLUDA
Chestnut-sided WarblerSETPEN…baronet penetrates…NETPENN
Song SparrowMELMEL…flames melting…MESMELS
Eastern TowheePIPERY…pipe wyoming…PIPEWYW
Common PoorwillPHANUT…peanut…PEANUTE
Red-eyed VireoVIROLI…enviro-rights advocate…VIRORIR
White-throated SparrowZONALB…marathon albeit…HONALBH
Eastern MeadowlarkSTUMAG…elysium again…SIUMAGI
Chuck-will's-widowANTCAR…reluctant can go…ANTCANN
Great Horned OwlBUBVIR…hubbub directly…BUBDIRD
Olive-sided FlycatcherCONCOO…won cool points…WONCOOW
Barred OwlSTRVAR…sir various…SIRVARI
KilldeerCHAVOC…wreakin' havoc…NHAVOCN
Tufted TitmouseBAEBIC…bag bicycle…BAGBICG