Nighthunter

The Nighthunters will be coming tonight, so make sure to leave the nets open so they can reach the orchard. And whatever you do, don't get in their way this time! Pollination by Night almost refused the contract this year after the stunt you pulled last time... As it is they doubled the price, but nobody else can match their results!
farmer to farmhand
  Nighthunters are small, nocturnal birds hired by many farmers to pollinate their fields. The birds have rarely been spotted in the wild, only on farms contracting for their services. This fact, coupled with their highly efficient pollination methods, has led many to believe the birds were Zokinetically engineered by Pollination by Night. The organization remains tight lipped about the birds and their origin, and rigorously defends themselves against anyone attempting to obtain too close a look at the active birds.

Basic Information

Genetics and Reproduction

Despite extensive attempts at study the life cycle of the nighthunter is completely unknown. Unlike other birds they do not seem to lay eggs, although this has not been proven definitively as nobody has discovered a nighthunter nest or nesting site, or even juvenile nighthunters. To this day the birds, and their life cycle, remain a complete mystery to all except Pollination by Night, which maintains full secrecy on the matter.   Attempts to capture the birds for closer study in a contained environment have always resulted in a visit from Pollination by Night and a demand for the immediate release of the bird back into their custody.   One scientist was able to test a blood sample prior to the arrival of the Pollination by Night retrieval team, discovering the Nighthunter in question had contracted vampirism. This unfortunately left more questions than answers. Is vampirism common across the Nighthunters? How did the bird contract the disease? What effect does vampirism have on the birds, and on their pollinating abilities? Is Pollination by Night aware that at least one of their birds, probably more, possess the disease?   Given the secrecy surrounding the Nighthunter, it is unfortunately unlikely any of these questions will be answered.

Ecology and Habitats

Nighthunters are, unsurprisingly, nocturnal. While they have been spotted during the day the birds remain fairly sluggish and prefer shaded locations until dusk, where they begin to scout for food in the form of flower nectar and small insect. Upon nightfall the birds enter their active state, quickly flitting from flower to flower in a surprisingly organized manner. This behavior continues until dawn, at which point the birds conclude their activities and most disappear until dusk returns.   The nighthunter is most commonly spotted in the fields of farmer who have contracted for service with Pollination by Night, after a representative of the organization has personally surveyed the fields to be serviced.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Nectar appears to provide the bulk of the birds' dietary requirements although they also seem fond of augmenting that diet with insects, especially bloodsucking varieties such as mosquitoes and fleas. Nighthunters are effective pollinators, as the pollen clings to their facial feathers while they feed on nectar from deep within their chosen flowers. Their wings also spread pollen across flower bunches as a result of their powerful wing flaps during landing and takeoff.   Farmers who have observed the birds in their fields claim the nighthunters seem to employ tactics that would guarantee the highest spread of pollen, fully feeding on compatible plant types before moving on the other varieties, and quickly adapting to changing conditions to maintain efficiency. But surely the birds aren't pollinating on purpose... Right?

Additional Information

Domestication

Pollination by Night uses the nighthunters to provide pollination services to their clients. As the birds are only seen on farms contracting for their services it is unknown if the birds have any wild relatives, or if they are born artificially through zokinetic manipulation of a different bird variety.

The hard working Nighthunter is under the protection of Pollination by Night. By employing Pollination by Night you agree not to interfere with our birds in any way, including but not limited to their flight, their health and well being, their meals, and their pollination efforts. Failure to comply with this agreement will subject you to disciplinary actions at the discretion of Pollination by Night, up to and including fines, the cancelation of this contract, the rejection of future contract attempts, and other legal actions.   We look forward to assisting your plants in achieving their fullest productivity and potential!
— excerpt, Pollination by Night contract
Lifespan
Unknown
Conservation Status
Unknown
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Nighthunters are covered in black feathers along their back, with white bellies and an iridescent red patch on their throats. Their beaks are thin and black, with a slight downward curve to assist in drinking nectar deep within flowers. Their tongues are long and thin, well adapted to drinking from most flowers.   Their agile black feet make them adept at clinging to even the thinnest of stems, although when drinking from more fragile flora they are forced to use their wings to balance and avoid damaging the plant.
Pollination by Night
Organization | Sep 3, 2020

Known among farmers as the most effective pollinators-for-hire in Fillimet, Pollination by Night secretly provides employment and a safe haven for vampires seeking to coexist peacefully with society.



Cover image: Nature Forest Trees by jplenio

Comments

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27 Aug, 2020 15:51

Very pretty bird, and I particularly like that one of the specimens carried vampirism and all the questions arising from that - are they a possible vector? Spooky. I love it.

29 Aug, 2020 05:39

Thank you!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
28 Aug, 2020 06:58

That was a very interesting take!   What kind of plants do they pollinate, and what happened to their "normal" pollinators, that so many farmers need to pay to obtain this service (which is normally "freely" provided by nature)? It seems like there is a very intriguing story behind these birds and their "managers".   As I do not have access to the article "Pollination by Night", I do not quite know much about them. It may be worth putting a tooltip to give a brief amount of information to the reader.

28 Aug, 2020 16:23

Oh, I haven't finished writing it yet, so it is still a draft. It will be public!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
29 Aug, 2020 05:39

And now it's up. Hopefully a bit clearer now! ;)

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
Grandmaster Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
21 Sep, 2020 23:11

This is a very interesting take on the pollinator! I love the secrecy surrounding the birds' origin and the mysteries as to why they're so organised. Really cool idea! :)

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
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