• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 05
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Ornithologists, Cringe

Ornithologists rejoice! Or cringe, depending on your outlook on the study. Its roots, purpose and yes, culture.
This year's winner was a young chap from just inside county lines, meaning just within jurisdiction to be eligible to apply for the stacking competition. This young snap was trained by grandmother and nature alike, honing both keen eye and balancing ability from a very early age. Pishuanta County in particular prides itself on the traditions of bird stacking from tracking and hunting to stuffing and balancing. The land is so that high pine and low marsh abut in such a way that the ecosystem thrives on diversity. Tree climbers and mosquito eaters alike fraternize in communal splendor.
And so it goes that bird stacking has embedded itself in the rural traditions. No watermelon spitting, pie eating, nor frog leaping here, just plain old piles of fowl.
The most prized come from those that find birds that don't want to be found. Those that have grown suspicious of the calls and traps, passing down their completely founded paranoia on to offspring.
Those that reject this hobby recall days of bird watching that was simply that - watching. They reject the history of catching a rare bird, mounting it on gnarled and buffed pine and presenting it as marriage proposal. They reject the tradition of standing ones ground, watching and waiting, then striking at just the moment to ensure feathers, beak, legs and eyes stay in tact. Like a master sculptor bird stackers meditate on just where to place spotted peckerel. What comes next? Blue beaked sparrow? And the crown of the stack? Well that goes to the beautiful and elusive rainbow moral hummer.
So, ornithologists cringe. Or rejoice. For this house of cards will not soon fall.