sunfeather bird Species in The River | World Anvil
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sunfeather bird

The sunfeather bird with its many different colors of feathers is regarded as an important symbol of Old Tree's creation of the world and transformation into the moon.

Additional Information


Sunfeather birds are not, strictly speaking, domesticated; however, they are known to favor foraging in the verges of women's forest, especially in stands of pipe tree, and the women who tend those stands often leave small shrubs growing to encourage the birds to nest there. When a pipe tree stand blooms, sunfeather birds are attracted in much greater numbers by the sudden abundance of seeds.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

The birds, especially males, are hunted for their meat and feathers. Women avoid killing the females during nesting season, preferring to search for their eggs.

Sacred Feathers

In women's lore, the sunfeather was the first of the birds created by Old Tree to try to catch her too-powerful light, and of all the birds was the only one that tried.  In the process the feathers on its head and wings caught fire, resulting in the bright red featherless crest and the orange feathers along its back and wings.  The bird's brightly-colored feathers are used to represent Old Tree's gifts: yellow for light, gray-blue for wind, bright green for water, dark red for land.  While anyone may wear the darker-colored feathers, the yellow and green are reserved for Woman Woman in her role as the village's advocate to the moon.
Scientific Name
Gallus gallus (junglefowl)
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
The male is noted for its broad collar and cape of brilliant yellow-orange feathers, as well as its cascading green tailfeathers that shine in sunlight.
Females are far better camouflaged with a duller and smaller orange collar and cape, and mottled brown feathers everywhere else.
Geographic Distribution

View from the future:

12,000 years, The Ocean
The sunfeather bird has been domesticated and can be found today in a tremendous variety of breeds; some for feathers, some for eggs, some as pets. Vastlanders also raise some for their meat, but Oceanfolk maintain a prohibition against eating birds.

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Aug 14, 2023 03:56 by Michael Johnson

Wonderful mythtelling. I really like how the sunfeather bird is part of the world creation myth you share. Mythtelling is something I've yet to figure out. But you've woven it quite well into this creature and, from what I can tell from a quick perusal, a lot of this world, which I hope to explore in greater depth at some point. And I like the vividness of the description. But maybe my favorite bit is the "View from the future." It's a neat way to place the story in time. It may help me figure out how to tell my stories across time.

February brings the Cabinet of Curiosities 2024! January had my New Year's Resolutions 2024.
Aug 16, 2023 17:00

Thank you! I started Summer Camp with only a general idea of their creation beliefs, and surprised myself with how quickly that changed and expanded. It was a joy to discover how much deeper their stories went.

The "view from the future" is because this world is the ancestral setting of my primary world. The plan was to show how the ancient culture influenced the modern ones, or sometimes didn't. But since I can't assume that people reading these articles are familiar with my other world, I was wondering if it caused more confusion than it cleared up. Your feedback tells me it's still a good idea, but I do think that once the badges are posted I should update them with more specific temporal context.

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.
Aug 16, 2023 20:41 by Michael Johnson

I love it when the details write themselves. That's one of the reasons I like the prompts, I write something that I never could have come up with before.   I have a similar set of problems with my world. Right now, it's just one world, but there are four very distinct "Ages", with the most recent one the focus of most of my development. But it is difficult to keep the details of the different ages separate yet coherent, so I've long considered splitting them. What you might do is, somewhere, link between the two worlds. The link could be on the worlds' home pages, or (in this case) in the View from the future section. Cross-linking could help these two disparate time periods part of a single continuity.

February brings the Cabinet of Curiosities 2024! January had my New Year's Resolutions 2024.