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Question game: that bird

There’s a bird that nests on the rooftops. It’s seasonal and does not winter over.

What is it and what else do you know about it?

While we’re at it…. anyone know what the national bird is?

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  1. Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger September 5, 2014

    Tawny Moorjay

    The adult moorjay is 45–60 cm (18–24 in) long and weighs 145–210 g (5.1–7.4 oz). Males are generally 5% larger and 10% heavier than females.

    The tail is long and makes up half of the bird’s length. Wingspan is
    about 60 cm (24 in). The bird is a mottled grey-brown overall.  The feet and bill are black.

    The moorjay was originally a tree nesting species, but due to an increase of construction and intrusion into their native habitats the birds began building nests in the eaves and on the rooftops of the city, with an especially heavy population in the older sections (Clockhaven, etc)

    The moorjay will be found during the late spring to early autumn, and the return of the moorjays to Clockhaven are often seen as a sure sign of spring.

  2. Tepic Harlequin Tepic Harlequin September 6, 2014

    It’s not the national bird, of course, cus who would want a bird like this to be it’s representative! I’m talking about the Clockhaven Cockoo, which makes it’s appearence in the spring, carefully timed so that the other spring birds have just finished nest building.

    Like all cockoos, it promptly lays eggs in every nest it can find, or anywhere else it thinks might be a nest, including laundery baskets, ladies hats and on one memorable occasion the Emperor Crumb’s pocket.

    It is adapted to industrial urban landscape, taking on a brick red colouration with cream stripes, making it difficult to see against most brickwork. This is somewhat spoilt by it’s bright blue beak and legs, an adaption that has baffled naturalists. About the size of a dove, their conformation is more like a kestral or other small hawk, which helps scare smaller birds away from nests, leaving them free for egg laying.











    No one is quite sure where they winter, but it must be quite an odd place, as the eggs that are laid have a very high concentration of rare earth metals, making the shells highly valuable to the City scientists. The shells are also very strong, often too strong to be broken by the chick, and there is a market for unhatched eggs, the older the better, among the more credulous citizenry who believe they have health giving properties.

    Due to the popularity of the eggs, the population of cockoos is declining, and the Ornithological Society of New Babbage has made representations to the City to place the birds and their eggs under protection. So far the response from City Hall has been along the lines that any bird too lazy to build a nest and raise it’s young didn’t deserve protection – though the wording was slightly more…. earthy.

  3. Cleetus O'Reatus Cleetus O'Reatus September 6, 2014

    I ain’t about to claim to be no ornerythologist, or nothing
    of the sort, but I know a thing or two about birds. Could be a number of birds you are trying to identify. If you’re talking about
    them that migrate, like I think you might be, then I figure it’s the northern
    gooster buzzard

    Now here is where it gets confusing. Even though they’re
    called the ‘northern’ gooster buzzard they only spend a few weeks this far
    north—why they didn’t call them the ‘southern‘ gooster buzzard I can’t figure out. They start their migrating from them big red cliffs south of the Ravilan
    coast. I always figured they flew ahead of the air kraken migration.

    A word of warning to you, the gooster buzzard can be a right vicious beast. If you corner one watch your fingers. They got that long
    gooseneck and vicious beak. I swear on my old dead granny’s grave they got a
    whole mouth full of teeth that will snap your fingers clean off. And they’ll
    gobble them right down, son, I’m telling you straight up.

    They ain’t really good eating neither, all rank dark meat
    and grizzle. You can slow stew them with some harsh herbs and spices that helps
    soften them some but you’d be better off to find a different bird to fry.

  4. Dee Wells Dee Wells September 6, 2014

    The Kettle Heron, a common nickname for the Cranky Castor Crane, a large shore bird with backward facing feet known for a call that sounds much like angry cursing (with very specific ‘words’ appearing to question the social integrity of one’s parents).

    The colloquialism ‘kettle’ comes from the high metal content in the shells of its eggs, which are collected, crushed  and then heated at dangerously high temperature to release the strange alloy deposited throughout the shell. Originally used to make unfortunately very explosive cookware, the very rare, unstable Yomama Oxide is now mainly employed in the local manufacture of specialized bullets and unique grapeshot for artillery pieces, a much more suitable, though still incredibly dangerous use.

    The Cranky Castor Crane can be seen in New Babbage individually nesting on rooftops for a brief period during its migration with its characteristic backward facing feet, standing stoically like a bad-tempered statue; cursing any who approach. Part of the reason for the bird’s rarity seems to stem from the coincidence of its nesting period to the peak migration of the Great Air Kraken, allowing them to meet annually for a month or so of spectacular carnage in late summer.

    Species not considered rare enough to be listed as endangered, although individually the birds are considereed to be very much at risk/doomed.

    ((Mesh effigy in progress))

    • Dee Wells Dee Wells September 14, 2014

      More detail provided by the Odd Blonde Society: speculation has come forth concerning the causes of the bird’s foul temper, now that it has been established that it subsists largely of–believe it or not–wiggyfish. This theory has been meeting with general acceptance, as there is no way the birds could be expected to be cheerful in that case. The Society also provided a drunkerrortype image of an example of this year’s migration: [img_assist|nid=8642|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=640|height=516]

  5. Maku Ibn-Selat Maku Ibn-Selat September 7, 2014

    To the President,
    New Babbage Ornithological & Ordnance Society

    Dear sir,

    I write concerning observations made the previous year, whilst assaying the nests of the New Babbage Cough Robin.

    As you are aware, this species of robin is renowned for its black plumage, and identifiable by its song, generally four to five clear notes followed by a brief if audible period of ejecting particulate matter from its lungs. (Has any conclusion been made as to which part of its performance is the attractant to females?)

    The nests I noted were comprised of what appeared to be scraps of old bill-posters, straw, twigs, wire and hair, held together with what seems to be a combination of droppings, saliva, soot, coal dust and some brick dust. As a result, they can be rather hard to spot due to their dark colouration; indeed, sir, at times I had to rely on the testimony of local handymen and groundskeepers, whose uncouth opinons on the durability of these very sturdy structures I will refrain from reproducing.

    Eggs fresh-laid are almost pitch black due to impregnation with the aforementioned soot, which over time leaches to reveal an interesting variety of colours. These colours seem to depend on whatever contaminants were circulating in the hen; basic chemical analysis suggests copper, iron, zinc and lead are the most common; I would not be surprised if eggs were also laid redolent of more precious and rare materials.

    I would however, sir, advise that would-be bird-nesters wear clothing either indifferent to, or impervious to, staining. From experience, nesting robins use their decidedly phlegmy and grimy coughs as a means to deter threats.

    Delving into city records shows that the observed population of cough robins is decreasing. I myself do not know why, and I would strongly recommend a programme undertaken to collect and incubate as many eggs as possible under controlled, scientific conditions, in order to identify what is killing off poor cough robin.


    Fnurk “Regis” Snidduck
    Emporium of Certain Things 

  6. Beryl Strifeclaw Beryl Strifeclaw September 7, 2014

    I heard a few rumors around the urchins about that birds eggs, though these are likely at least a little exagerated.  They claimed the eggs are so valuable because they burn like coal and give off a beautiful and warm blue flame.  Some even said one egg will burn for up to 6 hours in the winter and that you can open it up and eat it afterwards.  

  7. Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger September 12, 2014

    The Vernian Skua is a seabird native to the regions around the Greater Vernian Sea, the Vernian Reaches, Iron Bay and the Eisen River basin.

    They are typically seen with a distinctive deep grey plumage with white markings on the tips of their wings. On average they are 20 inches in length and have a 46 inch wingspan, weighing 2 ¾ pounds. The skua resembles a large dark-plumed gull from a distance, and possesses a long hooked bill and webbed feet with pronounced talons.

    They are found to be very aggressive, especially so when near their nests. The skua will actively attack any predator approaching their nest, even those that are far larger than itself. The species is known to be long distance flyers and can be found in several ocean bordered regions of the Steamlands.

    The Vernian Skua typically feeds on fish, carrion, and have been known to steal the catches of other seabirds, as well as birds themselves. During the nesting seasons of other native seabird species, the skuas will scavenge the breeding colonies of other species for both live and dead chicks and eggs. They have also been noted to eat small rodents found near the shoreline such as the vole and the dockrat.

  8. Jimmy Branagh Jimmy Branagh September 15, 2014

    The Leering Kittlesnipe of New Babbage is indigenous to New Babbage and near environs.  It is found nowhere else, possibly due to dependance upon the high soot content of New Babbage air.

    The Kittlesnipe is a large bird, roughly the size of a medium-sized dog, and is flightless.  It can, however, leap enormous distances on its oddly jointed legs, and pity the individual that it may unfortunately and inadvertantly land upon, for its legs are tipped with razor sharp pointed hooves.

    The Kittlesnipe prefers to perch atop chimneys and smokestacks, and its elegant coloring of reds, blues, black and gold is often obscured by the soot that has permeated the feathers.  This grants to it an added advantage in night hunting.  It prefers live prey; well-kept family pets being favored, and has been known to attempt to drag off small children now and again.  In a pinch, the Kittlesnipe is not picky, and will dine on carrion as available.

    Their nesting habits are entirely unknown, but one can often hear their call from the rooftops on the street below, sounding like a low, gutteral “Huwakk-TOOEY!”  Also, the common venturer should be aware that the Kittlesnipe, also known as “The Painter Bird”, lacks digestive sphincter control, and it is best to pay attention when entering or leaving a building where they are known to be perching.


    • Cleetus O'Reatus Cleetus O'Reatus September 15, 2014

      Frig me—that’s a right tasty looking buzzard. All them drumsticks must make it hard to catch. I figure you need a good hemp line to snare a foot then brain the bugger with a stick – but is it worth the effort is what I’m asking. Looks a little lean for my liking.

      • Rusty Bones Rusty Bones September 17, 2014

        Ain’t no lighter on meat than a jackrabbit by the looks a it.

    • Mr Tenk Mr Tenk September 17, 2014

      being flightless, a marvel that it is not extinct! where else does it live?

  9. Maku Ibn-Selat Maku Ibn-Selat September 16, 2014

    Anyone travelling the canals of New Babbage, or just being within earshot of a sewer entrance, may hear the call of the New Babbage Penguin. Evidently the noisy damned birds are returning to nest again.

    These fowl resemble a rather grubby cross between the New Zealand yellow-eyed and rockhopper penguin, albeit with rather larger crests. Some call it the “Groucho penguin”, apparently due to the crest’s relative size.

    Another indicator of their return is the number of wiggyfish showing up with pecking injuries, sometimes to the point of death (when checking, of course, always use standard six-foot carbon-steel wiggyfish tongs, preferably rated above 350psi.) This simple fact should be kept in mind by sewer workers, bird-nesters, and people not interested in a fate worse than swans.

    Obviously, the penguins nest in the sewers, laying their one (sometimes two) eggs in dog-dish-shaped nests made out of substances that will remain anonymous.

    • Mr Tenk Mr Tenk September 17, 2014

      penguins would have to be a feral animal due to our geography. may you enlighten us further?

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