THE WYND RACER BIRD

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE - RESEARCHERS

The Wynd Racer is a small two headed domesticated variety of the wild coa’coa birds (named for the soft sound they make) of which there are two hundred and six species found so far in the continent of Sarvonia. The Wynd Racer was and still is bred specifically for speed, endurance and their innate ability to find their way back home, however, some of these birds never did satisfy their breeders and were let loose. These have settled and are welcomed by most in all of the cities of Caelereth.

Appearance. The adult Wynd Racer stands upon two small featherless peach coloured legs and five clawed feet (three shorter and two longer in the back) that hold up a fore length sleek body. The two heads each, three nailsbreadths in length, are covered in a deep gray coloured feathers, have oval shaped eyes with red pupils and black coloured beaks one nailsbreadth in length.

The Wind Racer sprouts a mixture of bluish-green and lavender iridescent feathers upon its neck that blend into a charcoal feathered chest and body with a white rump. It is the two very distinctive black coloured bars upon the lower half of the Wynd Racer’s two sets of primary wings that distinguish it from its many cousins that lie one upon the other, (though only one set of primary wings can be seen at one time), The wings themselves can be any combination of silvery-gray, light tan to dark tan, soft brown, black, white and orange colours. Its wingspan is two
fores in length.

A very rare and prized Wynd Racer is the Cyhalloian Snow; named because all of its feathers and body are completely white. It also has black pupils instead of red. Return to the top

Special Abilities. The Wynd Racers, with their two heads and twin primary wings have several distinct advantages over other birds; they can eat and sleep at the same time and can fly extremely long distances without tiring. The reason they can eat and sleep at the same time is an unusual ability during flight for one head to pull itself into the body until only the tip of the bill is seen. This allows this head to sleep and also cuts down on the drag of the bird. Once the other head becomes tired, the sleeping one will come out and take over. When not flying both heads are out and eat and drink enormous amounts of seeds and water. How the two heads communicate with one another is a mystery.

Another ability the Wynd Racer has is to possess two primary wings; with this advantage it can use one pair of wings to fly and like the sleeping head the other pair tucked in close to its body is resting until they are needed. When the first primary wings become tired the resting ones come out and take over allowing the bird to keep on flying when most birds would have to stop and rest. Another advantage is to use their innate ability to find their way home from long distances.
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Territory. The wild coa’coa birds’ natural territory is still and remains around any rock cliff faces where they can nest. They can be found anywhere in the continent of Sarvonia from as far north as the Ashmarian Lands to as far south as the Sharadon Forests during the whole year except during winter when they winter in sea side cliffs as far south as Strata.

Their tame and domesticated cousins the Wynd Racer can be found anywhere in the cities of the world of Caelereth. Transported by those who wish to keep communication with either loved ones or heads of state these birds are so prolific in mating that the population grew faster than most could personally take care of so they spread out into the cities, where the populace feed and feed upon them and they find places for their nests up in the crooks and crannies of the cities' highest structures.

The most prized Wynd Racers are birds specially bred and kept by “bird fanciers” of Kings, Lords of State, Nobles, and other affluent people; as breeding and taking care of these special birds is very expensive. Their usage is noted below.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The Wynd Racer is a communal bird. You will find them in flocks of ten up towards fifty birds at one time. They usually are perched in anything from trees to statues to roofs on homes. They are very friendly birds and with their soft "coa coa" sound they make friends easily, especially among the children.

They walk on their two short legs with their two heads bobbing forward one head at a time always looking for food or drink. When you see two or more of the birds upon the ground they look like they are in the king's army as they line up side to side and forward and backward and march around the ground as if they were on parade.

The children love them and laugh at them and beg their parents to give them a san so they can buy some seeds for the birds and feed them as they watch them at large open areas, such as a town square.

The prized ones: Those kept and bred by “bird fanciers” of the nobility and other affluent families are usually kept in a coop, (a large wooden structure with open wire fencing,) to keep the birds from mixing in with the common population. Since the Wynd Racer will only go to its mate or nest that is usually not a problem. But sometimes one will become lost or lose its ability to find its way home; those that find another flock are lucky for most single birds find themselves prey, mostly to hawks, falcons or eagles, as they are normally the only winged birds that are fast enough to catch them and eat them.
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Diet. The Wynd Racer is a vegetarian: Meaning it only eats seeds and some small shoots of plants. Their favourite seeds are corn, but they will eat any seeds from any plant, even poisonous ones, but once a bird dies from eating from a poisonous plant seed, the rest seem to know and stay away from that seed.

Kli’ven Poul, the noted “bird fancier” and researcher, has observed that the Wynd Racer’s heart beats faster than any other bird he has ever researched, up to 180 beats per minute. It is this fast metabolism that he notes is why this bird eats over two times its body weight in a day.

The Wynd Racer sips its water which is very rare among birds and it sips an inordinate amount as well. Kli'ven Poul surmises that both amounts help to keep the bird alive as well as help the bird when it feeds its young as it has an unusual way of feeding them as noted down below.
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A Wynd Racer  Egg

View picture in full size  A very  small Wynd Racer egg. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

Mating. The Wynd Racer mates for life and is prolific when it comes to mating. The mating ritual usually begins when the birds are two years old. The ritual begins with the male tries to ‘preen’ the female’s primary feathers. If the female does not want the advance she pecks at him until he goes away. He keeps up this behaviour until she consents or is taken by another male. The next step in the mating ritual is the “Bobbing Dance”.

The Bobbing Dance starts at Firstflame with both birds facing one another and all four heads begin to bob up and down and eventually in between each other. This dance can last up to a quarter of an hour (measured by a sun dial), stop for a while, and then continue again; sometimes this ritual can last until the sun goes down, all the while making no sound.

The following day the male Racer makes a sloppy nest made of whatever is available; usually small twigs, and bits of cloth. There have been reports of a Wynd Racer flying down and grabbing some poor girl’s or lady's hair for their nests, but these occurrences are very rare. Soon after, two cyhalloian snow coloured eggs are laid in the nest (called a "twouk"). Both parents incubate the eggs, twelve days later the hatchlings crack out of their shells.

Both parents then feed them, not with worms or other meat, as do other birds, but with special milch that they create within their crop using the water and seeds that they have just eaten and drunk. This milch is then dripped down the hatchling’s throats.

The hatchlings are born completely with a soft down and within a month will have their complete coloured plumage: The extremely prized and rare Wynd Racer is born with black coloured pupils instead of red and does not change color. Their have been many attempts to breed these rare birds in hopes of having more, but these attempts have failed and the offspring turn out to be normal.

The hatchlings grow quickly, within a week their primary feathers are almost grown and their colours become visible. Within two weeks the fledglings are feeding on small seeds and are ready to leave the nest; in fact they are encouraged to do so by the parents. The whole process takes place in approximately nineteen days and then the mating process begins all over again unless the mate is taken away (if the mate is gone too long or dies the other one will usually die soon thereafter.)

The fledglings are taken care of by the flock until they fly off on their own and start their own flock.
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Usages. The Wynd Racer, likes its cousins in the past, the coa’coa bird, is mainly used for humans to be able to communicate with one another over long distances in a short period of time.

Kli’ven Poul has discovered records dating as far back as 4.000 b.S. as to how the coa’coa’s were used by kings and leaders of the ancient kingdoms of Sarvonia to communicate in times of war with their generals. However, unlike the Wynd Racer the coa’coa’s did not have the speed or endurance and often the birds would get lost along with their messages if the distances were too long.

Another usage of the Wynd Racer is for food. During times of famine or even the very poor will kill these birds and use them for food. There were cooks who have been known to come up with a recipe for the very young ones, two years or younger, and serve them as a delicacy to the nobility or affluent. This cooked bird is called a “Squab”.

Their droppings upon the cities statues and other important buildings have created a work force of men and women who scrape the droppings into large vats and then sell these vats to farmers who, along with their own animal’s droppings, spread and mix it with their soil to create a very rich and fertile growing field.

Wynd Racer feathers are also used by the amantry industry in towns like Lorehaven because of their natural beauty and myriad of colours.

The last usage and probably the most fun is the annual Santharian Wynd Race. Here nobles, affluent and even common bird fanciers put up wages to see what bird they own will outrace the others back to their homes. The winner receives a Goldbard and a trophy with ruby eyes in the shape of the Wynd Racer.

The race has been modified each year by going longer distances, or releasing the birds at night or both. The record goes to a Cyhalloian Snow named “Spirit” for a distance of 990 furlays in 22 days for a speed of a little over 45 furlays an hour.
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Myth/Lore. The Wynd Racer's origin is credited to Kli'ven Poul (living around the time of King Santhros) who first created them by breeding certain species of the wild coa'coa' birds until he came up with the breed he named the Wynd Racer as he notes in his journal; "Once let go they fly like they are racing the wind themselves."
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Researchers. Kli’ven Poul; bird fancier, breeder and researcher for King Santhros is credited for breeding and naming the Wynd Racer. It was his research on the wild coa’coa birds of Sarvonia that helped him breed these amazing birds. As we see in these notes:

"After observing the wild coa’coa birds I have come to understand that these birds have an innate sense of finding their way to their nests even through heavy storm or dead of night. I then took the liberty of capturing these birds and following a hypothesis I had I took these birds several leagues away from their nests. I then banded these birds with nor’sidian ink around their ankles and let them go. I went back to the nest as soon as I could and found the same birds. I then captured them again and took them farther and farther away and then observed them.

My research showed that most of them after two leagues would find their way home. I had an assistant of mine, Ali’st Hu’p, watch the nest and at an appointed time I released the birds. Ali’st would then see when the birds were back in their nest. It took approximately two hours for the birds to reach their nest. There were some that did not return and I noted that as well.

It was this research that compelled me to capture these birds and begin a process of selective breeding. I was hoping: to breed a bird that could fly fast, fly long distances and still find its way home. My breeding became a success and I called them “Wynd Racers.”

These birds were sleeker in body than their squat cousins. They also were faster, had more endurance and could find their way home from long distances. I found that by fastening a small tube to their leg, writing on a piece of small parchment I could communicate with my assistant faster and more efficiently than if I had sent it by regular horse and rider. There were a couple of disadvantages though; one, the bird could get lost, or eaten and two, it could only carry a small piece of parchment. Which meant that the message sent would have to be very short and to the point.

Eventually “Racer Stations” were created and managed over all parts of the world so that messages could be sent and received by any who was willing to pay the price to send the message; prices are set by several criteria; mainly the distance the bird would have to fly and the urgency of the message; the normal price for a message sent is an od."
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-- Kli'ven Poul: "Notes on the Wynd Racer", p. 5-6


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