Each turn, you will take 1 action. This section describes each action in more detail.
1. Play a Bird from your Hand
Before choosing to play a bird from your hand, consider its habitat, food requirements, and egg cost. Each bird has habitat and food requirements, shown in the upper left-hand corner of the card.
Additionally, there may be an egg cost shown at the top of the column in which you're playing the bird (there is no egg cost for the first column). If you cannot afford to pay the full cost, you cannot play the bird.
When you choose to play a bird, do the following:
Select a bird card in hand to play and place an action cube at the top of the column in which you will play the bird. Pay the corresponding egg cost (if any) by discarding eggs from any birds on your player mat.
To play a bird in column 2 or 3, you must discard 1 egg to the egg supply. In columns 4 or 5, you must discard 2 eggs.
Pay the bird's food cost. Discard food tokens to the supply (these tokens must be from next to your player mat, not food tokens cached on bird cards, a concept that will be explained later).
The 5 types of food are:
Note: These food types are very generalized. For example, the symbol for invertebrates is a caterpillar, but some invertebrate-eaters specialize in flying or swimming insects instead (or shellfish).
Wild: If a bird's food requirement includes a wild icon, you can use any of the 5 types of food for it.
No Food: A crossed-out circle means a bird does not have a food cost.
When playing birds, you may spend any 2 food tokens as if they are any 1 food token. This exchange cannot be used during other parts of the game. For example, if you need 1 fish, you could use any other 2 food tokens instead.
Place the bird card on the leftmost exposed slot in its corresponding habitat and move your action cube to the left side of the PLAY A BIRD row. The three habitats are:
If multiple habitat symbols are shown on the bird card, you can choose which habitat (row) to place it in. Your player mat limits you to a maximum of 5 birds in each habitat.
If the bird has a power that reads, "when played", you may use that power. Other powers (in brown and pink) are not used when the bird is played. Playing a bird is the only action that does not activate a row of birds.
2. Gain Food And Activate Forest Bird Powers
Food is primarily used to play bird cards. Your options for which food to gain are shown on the dice in the birdfeeder, which will repeatedly get depleted and refilled throughout the game.
When you choose to gain food, do the following:
Place an action cube in the leftmost exposed slot in the "gain food" row on your player mat and gain the amount of food shown from dice you select from the birdfeeder.
For each food that you gain (1 food per die icon):
- Remove a die from the birdfeeder and put it on the table.
- Gain a food token matching the icon on the die and place it next to your player mat. Your food tokens are public information.
You always gain 1 food token per die. With the die face that shows , gain 1 token of either type (not 2 tokens).
If the slot where you placed your action cube shows a card-to-food bonus conversion, you may discard at most 1 bird card from your hand to gain an additional food. This is optional. When you gain this extra food, you must choose among the dice that are remaining in the birdfeeder.
Activate any brown powers on your forest birds, from right to left. All powers are optional. End your turn by placing your action cube on the left side of the "gain food" row.
Example: Gain 1 food token from a die, then you may discard 1 bird card to gain another food token from a die. Next, you may activate the power on the bird card.
Managing The Birdfeeder
The birdfeeder has a tray to hold the 5 food dice. The dice removed from the birdfeeder when a player gained food will remain outside the tray until the birdfeeder is refilled.
If the birdfeeder tray is ever empty, throw all 5 dice back in.
If the dice in the tray all show the same face (including if there is only 1 die) and you are about to gain food for any reason, you may first throw all 5 dice back into the birdfeeder. ( counts as its own unique face).
Managing Food Tokens
There is no limit on how many food tokens you can have by your mat or on your birds (some bird cards allow you to cache food tokens on them until the end of the game), nor is there a limit on food tokens in the supply. In the unlikely event that any type of food token is unavailable in the supply, use a temporary substitute.
3. Lay Eggs and activate Grassland Bird Powers
Eggs are part of the cost of playing bird cards in columns 2 - 5. Also, each egg on the bird cards on your player mat is worth 1 point at the end of the game.
When you choose to lay eggs, do the following:
Place an action cube in the leftmost exposed slot in the "lay eggs" row on your player mat and lay that number of eggs.
To lay an egg, gain an egg token from the supply (color doesn't matter) and place it on a bird card that has space for it, according to its egg limit. The egg will stay there for the rest of the game, unless discarded.
You can lay eggs on any combination of birds (including all on 1 bird), but each bird has an egg limit. A bird's egg limit is shown by the egg icons. A bird card can never hold more than this number of eggs.
It is possible that you will have more capacity to lay eggs (based on your player mat) than you have spaces on your birds. Any excess beyond your egg limit is lost.
If the slot where you placed your action cube shows a food- to-egg bonus conversion, you may pay at most 1 food token to lay an additional egg. This is optional.
Example: Lay 2 eggs, then you may pay 1 food to lay another egg. Next, you may activate the power on the bird card.
Activate any brown powers on your grassland birds, from right to left. All powers are optional. End your turn by placing your action cube on the left side of the "lay eggs" row.
Managing Egg Tokens
There is no limit to the egg supply. In the unlikely event that no eggs remain in the supply, use a temporary substitute.
Types of Nests
Each bird has a nest icon beneath its score. These nest icons can be important for end-of-round goals and bonus cards. The 4 types of nests are:
Star nests are wild. (These birds build unusual nests that don't fit into the four standard types). These can be powerful, because they can match any other nest type for goals and bonus cards.
Note: Egg limits in Wingspan are all proportionate to the number of eggs birds actually lay ... but scaled down for the game. Birds with a maximum of 6 eggs may actually lay 15 or more eggs in a year!
4. Draw Bird Cards and activate Wetland Bird Powers
The cards available for you to draw are the 3 face-up cards on the bird tray and the top card of the bird deck.
When you choose to draw cards, do the following:
Place an action cube in the leftmost exposed slot in the "draw cards" row on your player mat, and draw the number of cards shown there from either the face-up cards on the bird tray or the bird deck. There is no hand limit.
If the slot where you placed your action cube shows an egg-to-card bonus conversion, you may discard at most 1 egg from a bird on your mat to draw an additional card. This is optional. Remove 1 egg from one of your bird cards and return it to the egg supply.
Example: Draw 1 bird card, then you may discard 1 egg to draw another card. Next, you may activate the power on the bird card.
Activate any brown powers on your wetland birds, from right to left. All powers are optional. End your turn by placing your action cube on the left side of the "draw cards" row.
Managing The Bird Deck
As you draw face-up cards, they are not immediately refilled. Instead, wait until the end of your turn before refilling empty spaces on the bird tray. If the face-down deck is ever emptied during the game, reshuffle all discarded bird cards to form a new deck.
At the end of each round, discard any remaining face-up cards and replenish them with 3 new bird cards.
Note: Wingspan includes 170 of the 914 species of birds found in North America. The map at the bottom of each bird card shows in which continents it lives.