44 comments

Fiction

I lift my head from where it was tucked under my wing. The first chill wind of winter has hit. The force of its gust knocks the leaves out of the tree and I watch as the world momentarily swirls red, orange, and gold. Then everything settles again. I extend myself as I rise then jump and catch myself before I drop too low. The ground is sparse, far more than I’ve ever seen before. Granted, I’ve never experienced a winter. My greatest hope is that I never do. I’m going to fly south where it’s warmer and there will be more food to hunt.

I return to my nest. The nest I hatched in not too long ago and the one I’ll be returning to once winter passes. At least, I hope I’ll be returning here. Another chill wind hits like a slap and I tuck my head back under my wing. Steeling myself as the wind passes, I spread my wings and jump. The first few flaps are enough to take me above the trees and my journey begins.

I look to the sky and the stars, though dim in the sun, tell me which direction I need to go. Looking back at my nest I try to memorize every aspect of the area. Every tree, rock, and recognizable landmark burns itself into my brain. Then I look forward. Determination pierces my body and I flap my wings a little faster. I have a very long way to go.

As night falls I swoop lower to find a place to sleep. There’s a thorny bush that can camouflage and keep me safe as long as I get far enough into it. I land with grace just by the edge of the bush. I sharply turn my head from side to side. I spot a small opening. Curling in on myself, I duck down and fit myself into the hole. It’s a tight fit and I feel more than one thorn stab into me. That’s a good thing, though. It means that predators, at least, won’t be able to get to me. I find a place that isn’t going to poke me too much and crouch down until my legs lock into place. I tuck my head under my wing and allow sleep to overtake me.

The next morning I maneuver my way out of the bush. I ruffle my feathers as I stretch my wings. I take to the air to glide above the trees, memorizing this area too. When I come here with the flock next year, I want to be able to find that bush again. Pressing forward, I flap my wings again and again.

Hours pass and as night falls I search for some kind of food. It takes a minute, but then a mouse scurries across the ground. I dive. On the dirt, I begin to devour my feast. I hear a sound behind me. A rustle of leaves, the breaking of a stick. I twitter around nervously, leaving dozens of little footprints everywhere I hop. Then I jump as a cougar pounces. I feel the fur of its head brush against my feet then it lands where I was standing just seconds ago. Beating my wings as hard as I can I try to create as much space between us as possible. It extends its body and claws, but I’m already far beyond its reach. I screech anyway, in an attempt to scare it away. Shaking off its frustration, it slinks off to find another victim. I continue my journey onward, ignoring the beginnings of a harsh fatigue.

After flying all night and day I find myself in a place with gigantic structures, bright lights, and strange creatures. Circling in the air, I search for somewhere to rest and eat. After a moment, I spot a pile of seeds on a branch, of some sort, hanging in the air. I perch on a conveniently placed ledge and begin eating my fill of seeds and nuts. One of those unusual and large creatures is watching. It makes some odd gesture and moments later an even more domineering figure comes by its side. They’re both staring now. I stare right back. Nervous energy courses through me and I hop nervously from side to side, flaring my wings occasionally. Once I’m finished with the seeds I fly a very short distance to where they keep their water. They seem unperturbed as I drink. Then I slide in and begin splashing. It’s one of the few moments of respite I’ve had on this journey, and I savor every second of it. Water reaches skin that normally remains untouched and refreshes and rejuvenates me. I shake off the excess droplets then burst into the air. This is most definitely a place to remember for next time.

The last stretch of my flight is a long one. Days pass. I’m exhausted. The simple act of flapping my wings has become almost impossible to do. Every muscle in my body is straining just to stay in the air. It can’t be much farther now, but if it is, I’m afraid there’s no way I’m going to make it. I glide for a while but I drop too low. Extra energy, that I can’t afford to waste, is spent to keep me from hitting the ground. My breathing is too shallow and too deep at the same time. I’m dropping again.

Then I hear it. I see it. The birds of my kind soaring through the air and chattering away. They’re resting on branches or searching for food, but they’re all here. They catch sight of my figure bouncing through the air and swarm to me to offer support. When I land on a branch we all huddle together. I see clearly, for the first time, where I am. It’s colorful, bright, warm, and overflowing with sustenance. The perfect place to rest while winter passes back home. Cuddling up to the ones nearest me, I close my eyes to rest. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and content to know that next year we’ll be doing this journey together.

October 17, 2020 01:37

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

44 comments

John Del Rio
08:03 Dec 15, 2020

Nicely done. As enjoyable as the first story of yours that I read. I found myself trying to figure out what kind of bird the protagonist was. I thought it feasted upon a mouse, but Then later near the bird bath it seemed to be eating seeds. I like that it had a successful journey and ended with it’s own kind. Looking forward to enjoying your other work when I get the chance.

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
08:15 Dec 15, 2020

Thank you! The bird is a Great Snipe, I stretched a little bit with it eating a mouse since they would normally eat smaller creatures. But they are carnivores, insectivores, and herbivores. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Reply

John Del Rio
16:36 Dec 15, 2020

I looked up the great snipe, so now I have an image of the bird in my head.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
B. W.
04:35 Nov 11, 2020

This was yet another a really great story that ya did- all of your stories are amazing but you know what I mean. I'll still give this a 10/10 :)

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
04:39 Nov 11, 2020

Thanks!

Reply

B. W.
04:41 Nov 11, 2020

im sorry

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Avis Kay
23:54 Oct 29, 2020

Great story! I sometimes have problems staying totally focused on a story but I had absolutely no problems with this one. (: I really felt you're bird's emotions and perspectives.

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
00:58 Oct 30, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Philip Clayberg
05:36 Oct 28, 2020

I like the story too. It really feels like you're looking out of the bird's eyes, seeing what it sees, feeling what it feels. Just curious: What kind of bird was it? You mentioned that the bird has little feet, so I'm guessing maybe a dove, or finch, or thrush, or robin, or something like that?

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:32 Oct 28, 2020

Thank you! It's a Great Snipe.

Reply

Philip Clayberg
20:19 Oct 28, 2020

Ah! I've heard of snipes. Usually in the term "snipe hunting". Because of it, I always thought that they were fictitious. I even heard that one of them went on to teach about potions at Hogwarts. Oh, wait. That was Snape, not Snipe. *grin*

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Patricia Adele
00:57 Oct 24, 2020

Hi Eliza. Very good story, it kept my interest from beginning to end. I was feeling so sorry for the little line bird starting out by his lonesome until he pounced on the mouse, then I was sad for the mouse. I always tear up during a good story about animals. I also liked the way that the bird feeder was seen by the bird. Good job ! Patricia

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
03:28 Oct 24, 2020

Thank you! I'm glad you were able to experience it so fully.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Philip Ebuluofor
15:00 Oct 23, 2020

This is superb. I tell you true. The end superb too. Right words every right place. Keep it up.

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
15:53 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
04:52 Oct 23, 2020

Hello Eliza :-) You had me feeling for your sweet little bird ... thank you :-)

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
04:53 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you! :-)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
A.J. Brown
02:19 Oct 23, 2020

Nice story, and easy to follow which always makes it better, imo

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
02:28 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
T. S. Burkhardh
18:49 Oct 22, 2020

Really good story. A few days ago I saw a bird struggling to join some others in the sky. It kept dipping too low towards the water but then rising up again and it eventually made it. This story made me think of that and I feel like your details are quite authentic. There were also some new ideas in here I hadn't encountered before, such as how a bird might view a birdfeeder.

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:51 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you! I was trying to keep in the perspective of how birds would see human creations. I’m glad it helped you view things differently!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kerry Chaput
18:10 Oct 22, 2020

nice! I like the POV from the bird

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:27 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
16:32 Oct 22, 2020

Wow its a nice story. I actually loved it. Keep it up

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:27 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Dalyane Deblois
15:49 Oct 22, 2020

Great work! I love the descriptions and the feelings attributed to the bird. Light and agreeable read, well-written. Keep writing!:)

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:29 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Charles Stucker
15:33 Oct 22, 2020

When I come here with the flock next year,- never migrated, not yet with the flock, yet he already has a flocking instinct? Hours pass and as night falls I search for some kind of food. commas around "as night falls" so "...and, as night falls, I search..." The simple act of flapping my wings has become almost impossible to do. Every muscle in my body is straining just to stay in the air. - migratory birds mostly glide on locked wings, some can go for over a day between flaps. I glide for a while but I drop too low. - comma after w...

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:31 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you! It's certainly not my best story and needed some editing and there are some things that I just don't know about birds that I probably should've researched before writing this. I'll keep that in mind for my next story!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Lourenço Amorim
13:05 Oct 22, 2020

Good story but a little too short, You could express more of feelings, and the events of the journey. Migration takes some time, and many miles separate the begging to destiny. Other than that flawless

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:33 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you, there are several parts that I wish I had elaborated on, I appreciate you noticing that and commenting on it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Roger Meachem
12:38 Oct 22, 2020

I've read few examples of writing from the POV of an animal: Watership Down. Charlotte's Web. The Call of the Wild, Jennie. I haven't attempted it myself because to be successful imo you need to have done quite a bit of homework. Here, it's short, so not too much detail is possible, and you have included information such as legs locking as the bird sleeps, the way the bird seeks shelter and flies from danger. By the way, there's a theory which has some strong experimental backing that birds use earth's magnetic field to navigate - not stars....

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:38 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you! I'm aware that this story needs a lot more work and editing, and there are several things I would've changed if I'd had more time. The bird is alone because there are some species that have their young migrate alone for their first time. I thought it would be interesting to write from that perspective rather than the 'classic' flock migration.

Reply

Roger Meachem
18:47 Oct 22, 2020

I didn't know that some young birds migrate alone! Your story is very good already - I hope you didn't mind my comments - I get carried away if I enjoy what I'm reading.

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:53 Oct 22, 2020

Not at all! I’m really happy that you read my story and cared enough about it to offer constructive criticism and positivity!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Dede K.
09:18 Oct 22, 2020

Wow- The descriptions flow so beautifully! Your word usage was spot on. I like the touch with incorporating humans and the cougar. My family was heavily into bird watching when I was growing up (Not I haha). Birdies definitely need their moment of respite. Keep it up!

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
18:40 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Yolanda Wu
05:51 Oct 22, 2020

What a fantastic take on the prompt! I've never written a story from the point of view of an animal before, but you did it so, so well! Right from the beginning your descriptions were vivid and captivating, I got sucked in immediately. I love how you wrote the journey with all the little details. The ending is sweet and endearing. Overall, just such a pure and wholesome story. Amazing work, Eliza!

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
05:59 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Tiersa Remisha
03:14 Oct 22, 2020

I really enjoyed this prompt! You did very well in describing this journey and I loved how you portrayed your character. I did find that the first paragraph had a couple issues with your sentence structure. You used contradicting terms that confused me before I was able to understand what you were trying to say. Your sentences: “...I extend myself as I rise then jump and catch myself before I drop too low. The ground is sparse, far more than I’ve ever seen before...” are a prime example. I always recommend editing via family or friends re...

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
04:24 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you! I'll keep that in mind.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ray Dyer
20:23 Oct 20, 2020

This is so well written, Eliza. I don't know what a bird goes through when it migrates, but this is what I'll be thinking of from now on. I like that the humans turn out to be the good guys, who aren't predators and aren't malicious. That doesn't happen often in stories from the POV of animals, but it fit so well with what was going on. It's also cool that this story keeps to the bird's frame of reference. Of course there aren't any references to "cities" or "states," but we also don't get a definitive answer on what sort of bird this...

Reply

Anna Elizabeth
00:37 Oct 21, 2020

Thank you so much! A lot of people, that I know, at least, like to put out bird feeders and baths and I wanted that to be part of the story because it can be a lifesaver for a lot of exhausted, migrating birds.

Reply

Ray Dyer
00:58 Oct 21, 2020

My great-grandfather used to sit out and watch birds in a bird bath, and my grandfather had a crazy number of hummingbirds that he watched every day, which eventually spread into bird feeders and bat boxes, too. I loved that image. We put out a few things like that, but the birds where I live must have too many options, because they never take us up on the offer! :-)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply