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Birds constitute the class aves. They are diverse in appearance, size, and biology, encompassing about ten thousand unique species. In this way, nonhumans with bird identities can have varied experiences.

Experiences[edit | edit source]

In personal essays, wings and flight are common motifs of bird identity. One may feel phantom wings, or feel that they should be able to fly.[1][2][3] One may instinctually feel that they should fly to migrate for winter, and feel that existing in a cold climate is somehow wrong for them.[4] However, some birds dislike the emphasis often placed on flight, as they have many other traits that define their identity that are often ignored.[2] Birds may have instincts in line with seasonal changes, knowing not only when it is time to migrate, but also when it is time to breed or nest.[3] In this way, a bird may instinctually wake up early as birds in the wild do.[5] Some birds may associate resting in bed with a bird's nesting, and resting can remind one of the safety from a predatory world a bird would feel when nesting.[3]

Metaphor and symbolism of one's species of bird can be integral to their identity. These may come from ideas from traditional folklore, but some feel disconnected from that folklore[6] or not be of a species that has a major mythology.[7] In many instances, this symbolism is personal and reflects how an individual, rather than their culture, views their species. A hawk that is present in the moment may serve as a reminder to embrace simplicity.[7] For some, crows represent an ability to adapt that might be reflected in the personality of one with a crow identity.[6] One may view their goshawk identity, a heavy bird, as being tied with gravity, as a goshawk must learn how to work with gravity in order to properly fly.[8] A great horned owl, a very strong bird, may be defined as being intense and powerful.[9]

For some, autism is linked to the experience of being a bird. Birds may dislike human companionship and be affected by overstimulation in a way that can be defined both as nonhumanity and autism.[10]

Birds may feel phantom limbs other than wings, including beaks and feathers.[1]

Because of the vast differences in experiences birds may have, it can be difficult for common ground to be established. Individuals with bird identities may struggle to relate to each other. It has been put forward that 'birdness' may be too broad of a category to properly define.[11]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Meirya. (May 2005) "Feathers"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Akhila. (July 2012) "Raw Raven"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tsu. "Tell me what it is like to be a swangirl"
  4. Adagio. (Feburary 2006) "Wintercrow"
  5. Acies. (April 1st, 2012) "On Being A Heavy Bird" (Archived version)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Adagio. (August 2006) "Crow"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Makhsi. (April 9th, 2011) "North Wind, Winter Sun, Rough-Legged Hawk"
  8. GreyGhost. (February 16th, 2012) "On Being A Heavy Bird" (Archived version)
  9. epsilon_pegasi. (January 6th, 2013) "Power Bird"
  10. Tsu. "Untitled"
  11. Akhila. (January 2012) "I am Not One-Winged"