Spearow is at least more like a sparrow than Pidgey is like a pigeon – though she lacks the eye markings that distinguish most sparrows. She comes across as a bit of an ankle-biter, and the permanent angry-eyebrows, sharp-looking mane, and hooked beak spell out that this gal is more aggressive than Pidgey, if perhaps a bit smaller just going by her proportions. She’s even got brightly-colored wings as a sort of natural “danger” warning, which ironically don’t make much sense on what looks like a more predatory bird. All in all she looks like a kid bird playing at being a powerful hawk, which is kind of cute.
What if you made a stork out of needles? You get Fearow, that’s what. Pointy comb, pointy dorsal plumage, pointy breast plumage, very pointy beak, and even sharper-looking feathers than on our main point of comparison (Pidgeot). She’s big and gangly and maybe not the kind of intimidating that Spearow was going for, but she’s definitely making it work for her, ’cause she very much gives off a “territorial” vibe.
She and Pidgeot serve basically the same role in the games – they’re available early on, but they’re very basic in terms of what you can do with them; the only difference is that Fearow reaches her final stage earlier and is slightly more attack-oriented. Not much to see here.
A major downside to being a parallel to the Pidgey line is that while they serve the same role, Fearow is just less photogenic, so there’s almost nowhere she could fit in the marketing where Game Freak won’t put in the Pidgey line instead. The best she can claim is that a whole flock of Spearow show up as the villain in the first episode of the show, but other than that she’s kind of stuck playing understudy to what’s already not a super-intriguing role.
The most fun thing to note about these is how they’ve taken what have an image of more passive birds – common seed-eaters like Sparrows and long-necked water birds and scavengers, and even a touch of chicken – and warped their features into something that you can peg at a glance as a carnivore. It’s an interesting twist on what would otherwise be a pretty common bird ‘mon.
That’s… about it for this guy. He’s a bit more distinct than Pidgeot as an early-game bird, but with less of a reputation in his favor, which leaves him as one of the more “eh” first-Generation offerings. If we assume that the original 151 can never be fully Retired, it’s not a hard call to banish him to the Reserve stack.
Any and all appreciation for Spearow and Fearow is welcome in the comments!