…a field guide to birds in other forms


Common Symbolic Communis Symbolic
This mercurial bird can take many forms and flourishes across the world, with peace appearing as a dove, death as a raven, love as a swan, and power as a falcon. This is by no means an exhaustive list, with representations as wide and meaningful as the human imagination allows.

Its preferred habitat is the gap between language and meaning, but will also tolerate flags, family crests, greeting cards and casually used clichés.

It is identifiable by its physical reflection in an aspect of human experience, such as the wide eyes of the owl denoting intelligence, or the necks of swan lovers creating the shape of a heart. The swan also mates for life, which makes us believe they feel love and devotion, which somehow strengthens our own love and devotion.

The common symbolic builds its nest in the heart and the mind, the subsequent clutch of pale blue eggs hatching as early wisdom and developing as universal meaning.

Body Warbler Corpus warbler
Commonly known as the ink warbler, this colourful bird can be found on any area of the human body with space enough for the desired image; a goldfinch on the arm, a flight of blackbirds circling the ankle, an eagle in flight across the back.

The warbler has several breeding seasons throughout the year, with new broods appearing when funding and inspiration allow, always accompanied by a distinctive buzz buzz buzz song and the occasional call of pain.

Aftercare is essential for fledgelings to grown into healthy adults, with a clean environment and nourishing cocoa butter ensuring shimmering plumage and a sharply distinctive beak. Once healing has occurred, a range of calls can be heard from others within their territory, including hmmm, oh!, aah, and huh?, followed by variations on Who did it…? I don’t normally… How does it…? Why did you…?

Some mature adults can perish with too much sun or poor habitat care, so these birds can often be found returning to their original nesting ground for touch-up or cover-up work. This has a rejuvinating effect that often leads to long life and further breeding.

The flight and call of the warbler can be sensed across the skin by the host body and others of the same species, with a well-placed spot of white in the eye ensuring good visibility of the world beyond its own nest or roosting place.

Hooded Metaphor Metaphora sacris initiatorum
The hooded metaphor is related to the common symbolic, but the metaphor can be distinguished by its sideways comparison which displays a distinctive slide from observation to emotion to meaning. An example of this is Max Porter’s crow in Grief is the Thing With Feathers, who invades a house of loss and describes it as heavy [with] mourning, every surface dead Mum, every crayon, tractor, coat, welly, covered in a film of grief. The flight of this bird can be graceful and elegant, but in this case is spiky and harsh, with a tendency towards brutality, invading the widower’s bedroom to put a claw on his eyeball and [weigh] up gouging it out for fun or mercy. The metaphor’s relationship with the symbolic is evident when crow pluck[s] one jet feather from [his] hood and [leaves] it on [the man’s] forehead, for, his, head.

The hooded metaphor can most commonly be found across a variety of art forms, including novels, film and dance. Ballet is particularly favoured.

The metaphor prefers feeding wherever deep emotion resides, with nests of creativity holding one or more large white eggs that may take anything from several weeks to several years to hatch. The fledglings are particularly vulnerable to attack by predators or casual remarks, so nesting sites are often well hidden away from others of the same species.

The Mimic ad undam libabat cineri
This invasive species was first discovered in the eyes of desire of the earth-bound. Their skyward observations resulted in all manner of nests and fledgelings, and finally to the desired flight of creations such as kites, aeroplanes, drones, microlights, hang gliders and hot-air balloons.

Its song varies depending on its sub-species, flying for anything from a few minutes to many hours. Each sub-species also exhibits different behaviours, with kites displaying playful enjoyment, planes a determined hunger for their destination, and hot-air balloons an almost meditative communion with the sky. It is this location that is the playground for the mimic, a place where clouds shift with the wind, where light lingers to arch a rainbow, where freedom can be tasted on the tongue.

These are restless creatures, but when they are still (when suspended as a balloon, for example) they begin to feel their connection to the ever changing earth below, the heavenly mystery of space above, and the sky they temporarily inhabit.

This is one time the mimic feels something akin to peace.

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