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Author Topic: Mirjah, small ground birds. (Completed and uploaded)  (Read 3461 times)
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Miraran Tehuriden
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« on: 10 March 2006, 13:51:00 »

Basic Overview  
The Mirjah (both singular and plural) is a small common bird incapable of flight, from the mid and south regions of the Kingdom of Santharia, and a true culture bird, always to be found in the presence of man, be they Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit or Human, from wich they scavenge food and other nececities, such as nesting material, aided by their speed and incredible jumping abilities to avoid both predators and anyone trying to salvage what just has been taken from right under their noses.


Appearance
It is mainly small, fast, and colorfull, giving the impression of a bird-mouse crossbreed as they flit around júst to fast to be seen in detail. The Mirjah stands only about 5 nailsbreath high, (although some large males may manage all the way to 6, wich are considered true giants) and measure about 6 nailsbreath from beak to tail. Its wings are even smaller, never reaching beyond half its body size. As a result the Mirjah is ground-bound, unable to do more than making rather high jumps, up to nearly two fore. Its wings are, in aldults always brightly colored with blue, green, or in rare cases a peculiar shade of deep purple bands. Males also sport a vivid red, yellow or white patch on top of their head, where their feathers grow slighty longer, and gain a tendancy to curl upward during mating season.
The Mirjah has a sharp, short, but strong beak, lined with sharp ridges on the inside. Its feet are adorned with serrated small claws on each toe, allowing the bird to climb and hold on to many things other birds would not be able to.




Special Abilities
As noted before, the Mirjah is a great jumper, and this, combined with its considerable speed have enabled it to escape its predators, such as cats and snakes.
Another ability worth noting is their song, wich may vary from swift, high pitched   tunes and chittering, to a complicated warbling song, so high verry few people are able to hear it. It is said they sing this song to call in peace and comfort to their homes, and that any house occupied by singing Mirjah will not suffer pest plagues or disease. However, any magical properties of this little creature have not been confirmed by magical research, and most scolars believe the protective properties of the Mirjah song is nothing but a myth.


Territory
Mirjah birds are common in almost all permanent settlements south of Rimmerins Ring. Also, several isolated populations can be found in Parda, Milkengrad, Naios, Thyslan, Carmalad, and throughout the islan of Dhoranthakar  Only those villages deep within the woods are never populated, since the birds lack of flight turns them into a quick meal for the forest’s predators, while their speed is impaired by the fact enemies now often come from above, instead of from the side, like most do in the more open areas.


Habitat/Behavior
This is where the Mirjah are rather different from most birds. Instead of living in the wild, each and every Mirjah documented lives within a house, shed, or other man-made structures. There they make an oddly shaped nest in any usable crevice or hollow area, often within a reed roof, under a closet, or even inside a seldom used cooking pot. The nest is made from just about any bit of soft meterial they can find, be it loose feathers from other birds, dried grass and leaves, or stolen bits from the occupants clothing, curtains, or bedwear, torn loose with their sharp, prying beaks. The odd shape is the result of its contruction. Starting with just one globular nest used for sleeping and breeding, it is expanded with several smaller resting places fit for one or two birds within one or two years, as the tiny colony grows by the addition of juvenile nestlings.
In this nest, the main couple will live together with all of their offspring under two years of age. Each year, the oldest young leave the nest, at wich time the males leave the house, but the females start looking for a place of their own, provided the population hasn’t become to dense yet. Once that happens, all following young leave the house.
Fortunately enough for the more humanoid inhabitants, death rates among young birds are high. Two out of five of the young live untill they are ready to leave the nest  forever, but only one in twenty young lives long enough to produce more than one nest of their own offspring. Part of the reason for this is that they are rather shortlived, dieing usualy at the age of 6 or 7 years in even the safest of environments. Another large death factor is their lack of  flight, causing many young birds to get into places they cannot get back out of, and die.
In case the nest is destroyed, or removed, the Mirjah couple will often move to another building before building a new nest. This is a practice often used by people to get rid of unwanted Mirjahs in their home, or to control their numbers by removing the nests of excess offspring.
Mirjah are not easily scared. Taught by their parents what animals and situations to avoid, at a later age they often grow brave enough to try and take things from right under peoples nose, even stealing food from their plates. They are also known to drive away mice from the homes they inhabit by flocking them with the entire family, and pursuing them even down their own holes.


Diet
Mirjah eat all sorts of things. They gather seeds from plants found around the house they occupy, steal things from the trash, plunder badly closed storage cabinets, and eat all kinds of insects, spiders, and the like. The diet varries depending on where the bird lives, as one can imagine, city Mirjah rely more on trash and bugs than those on the country, who feed mainly on seeds and ‘wild’ food. Another difference between urban and country birds is the gathering of food for the winter period. While country Mirjah often stockpile fair amounts of seeds and other durable food to make though the cold season, most city birds have abandoned the habit, due to the year-round steady supply of food available to them.


Mating and Reproduction
The Mirjah mate for life in their second year, as in the Month of the Singing Bird the young males travel around the area looking for available females, while singing the same tune repeatedly in every house or stable they enter. Children have over time adapted the song of the searching mirjah, resulting in various songs and rhymes, such as the Bird Counting Song found in Dasai. Once they find a potential partner, who has by then found a suitable nesting site, the male starts collecting as many bits and scraps of soft material as it can find, often braving the inhabitants of the house they live in to get to their clothing, and stores all of it at the nest-in-progress. If the female is satisfied with quantity, speed, and quality of the materials collected, she will start building the nest, usualy accompanied by her new mate once enough material has been amassed. Upon completion of the main nest, the couple mates, often more than once during two or three days. After nine days, up to six eggs are laid, usualy consisting of one or two female, and four to five male eggs, wich are then incubated for two more weeks. The chicks are born blind, but feathered, and will gradually develop into little fluffy featherballs able to follow their parents around during the first three days. In times of plenty, Mirjah are known to produce an additional nest, often during the end of the Month of the Burning Heavens.


People and Mirjah
The relationship Mirjah have with their hosts varies from place to place. Some think of them as pests, nothing better than the mice they drive away from the house, while others believe they are to be preferred over mice, since they don't smell, leave less droppings, and rarely ever turn into a plague. Others still believe them to be a good omen, and that a house with mirjah is less likely to suffer misfortune. Of course, cat-lovers will more often than not be unable to enjoy these little fellows, at their pets tend to make short work of most mirjah trying to colonise their home while the cat is around.
The Hobbits of the Elenveran Shire in particular like the little birds, and often reserve small corners for their nests, shielding them off and providing nesting material. Some families even feed their 'pet' birds with leftovers. This prevents the birds from scavenging the house for nesting material and stealing the hobbits food from their supplies, and frees the hobbits from mice, who are less easilly detained from their pillaging.
The southern humans in the border cities of the Rahaz'Dath tolerate the birds, claiming the ability to ward off mice is valuable enough to allow them to eat some srps and bits of what the mice would have taken. The Shendar ont he other hand are usualy unfamilliar with the birds. While recently captured mirjah, living in cages, have become more popular amongst the desert people, they rarely live long in captivity, nor do they reproduce.
The Avennorians and Serphelorians Have widely varying stances on the birds, ranging from total prosecution, to the more tolerant ways of the Stratanians.
Eyelians on the other hand have a more hobbit-like take on the Mirjah. Using their legendary animal skills, Eyelians are the only tribe able to train them as pets. In fact, some have taken on control of a whole mirjah clan of up to twenty individuals, house them in mobile nests, usualy on a wagon, and travel around to rid other folk of mice plagues.





Reference picture; (Artists invited to paint me a Mirjah!)


edit; Expanded Overview section, changed percentages to "X out of Y"... added line about cat owners in 'People', making it obvious why they don;t exsist in Ximax (Smart cats are a bit to much for these featherbrains..). More comments anyone?

Edited by: Miraran Tehuriden at: 4/3/06 17:23
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Avrah Kehabhra

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Capher
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« Reply #1 on: 10 March 2006, 15:07:00 »

I look forward to seeing the complete entry. I like the bird alot. Keep up the good work.

Capher.

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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #2 on: 10 March 2006, 16:15:00 »

A nice start, yes :)

Just one question: Is 4 handspans small? The bird on your hand is much smaller than this!

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Vesk Lyricahl
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« Reply #3 on: 10 March 2006, 18:27:00 »

Talia, its .4 palmspans, not four.:p

Miraran, decimals should not be used in an entry as a researcher would not have any way of measuring that precisely. I would suggest using nailsbreadths to describe the bird's size instead, no decimals please.;)

In the territory section you state they live south of the Sharadon Forest. Basically, only the Shendar live in that region with the exception of the cities along the coast. How does the nomadic lifestyle of the Shendar affect the birds? Also, they don't seem suited to live in the Rahaz-Dath (the birds, not the Shendar:p ).  

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Lucius Helvil
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« Reply #4 on: 10 March 2006, 18:22:00 »

Like the bird and idea.
I know this is a work in progress. This is just some food for thought.

Why do they live only in man made structures?
Will it die without one?
Are they friendly?
Do people welcome them into their homes?
What color are their beaks and feet?

Edited by: Lucius Helvil at: 3/10/06 1:24
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Dagon Fai Ur
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« Reply #5 on: 11 March 2006, 02:13:00 »

Not much, and I could be wrong, but I've noticed that most entries generally have a more detailed Overview. I am unsure whether there is a requirement for your overview to be longer, but it's just a thought :)  

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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #6 on: 11 March 2006, 03:19:00 »

A decimal without zero in front! I wouldn't have seen the dot  even if I had my glasses on!

To the territory - it says, south of Rimmerins ring, so there are enough towns or villages it could live in. And south of the Sharadon forest? Why not, the desert is not as dry as it looks. If it is a bird of open spaces - there are enough places where it could live, even without human company. We have here the (undeveloped) Kirilit, which lives near small water holes in the mil'no forests. I would love to have these birds in all of my southern towns. Varcopas needs more than the Varcosparrow. Let them florish in Bardavos , Uderza and Strata, or the Shoals. Or even bring some colour to Thalambath. They could even follow the Shendar on their travels, or the Shendar could feed them, for they like to have them around?

***Astropic of the day***
"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path   that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly. ~Don Juan"

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Lucius Helvil
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« Reply #7 on: 11 March 2006, 08:12:00 »

I'm sure that these animals would thrive in large cities. Where there are many places to make nests, almost no pretadors, and scraps of food all around.  

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Miraran Tehuriden
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« Reply #8 on: 11 March 2006, 11:23:00 »

Vesk; good point on the measures used, i'll update it next edit. The second 'souch of' is an error, it should say 'north of', so the birds live in the area bertween the Rimmerin and Sharadon.

Lucius; Most of those questions will be answered as i work on the behaviour section. Ill look a bit deeper into the physical description too.

Dagon; I made the overview as short as possible on purpose, leaving the details to be sorted in the various other sections. This way you can read two lines of text, and know what bird you're looking at, inatead of reading a lot of info on a bird you might not be interested in.

Talia;  I couldn't find a way for the birds to have crossed the Sharadon without getting eaten by the time they wander back out, so for now thay are stuck between the mountains they cannot fly over, and the forrest they cannot walk through.
Maybe i'll expand their range to include most cities in the same climate area, having them taken along by people moving to another city, but that will depend on how i write the man-bird relationship.

Lucius (again); Yes they would, probably. But don't expect one in Ximax, the cats won't leave a shred of them :hammer


Thanks for the comments everyone. Next   :read update:read    sceduled for saturday night, western european time.

Mira

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Avrah Kehabhra

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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #9 on: 29 March 2006, 20:58:00 »

Just a note again about the size.  Are you sure you meant 50 nailsbreadths?  That over a foot and a half long!  Still not exactly very small.   A nailsbreadth is about equal to a centimeter.  You can check the Santharian measures converter (type "measures" into the search function--my computer is acting up so I can't put in the link) to get specific details.

Good luck!

Alysse the Likely

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Alysse the Likely
Miraran Tehuriden
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« Reply #10 on: 30 March 2006, 09:08:00 »

*gasps* they shouldn't be that big! *slaps the converter* You! New values, RIGHT NOW!

( and thanks for pointing that out Alysse.... )

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Avrah Kehabhra

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« Reply #11 on: 31 March 2006, 15:49:00 »

Ok, checking this one...

Overview.
Is a bit small for an Overview, which should mention the most important things on a beast, plant etc. Here you should mention e.g. that it's a groundbird, is a great jumper, lives where approximately etc.

Special Abilities/Territory.
Nice touches here - I see you try to add little detailsand explain things, Santhariarize things as good as possible, that's very much appreciated:nod

Habitat/Behaviour.
The percentages figures sound a bit too technical and scientific, would formulate this in a different way.

People and Mirjah
Very imaginative here, very Santhariarized, quite happy with everything you put there.

To sum it up:
I'm not an ornithologist, but I think this is a very good entry - and if I'm not mistaken it's your very first one as well, so that's excellent work, Miraran! With the few adjustments made I suggested this should be up in now time. A typo/misspelling here and there, but I'll correct these small things upon integration.

Great work! :thumbup  - More of this! ;)  


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Miraran Tehuriden
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« Reply #12 on: 31 March 2006, 16:10:00 »

Allright.. i've rewired the non-santharian bits, and put as much info in the overview as i dared without compromising the need for someone to actualy read the whole entry to know about the birds. Anyone else have something to change?

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