Dunghill bird

Leonard Fitzmurdle’s personal log

September 02, 2114

We spent a week in that blind, observing their movements. Though the aviflora on the planet is abundant, the dunghill bird stands out as unique. The elaborate structures they build sprawl for miles, and can, in certain areas, be seen from space. It is amazing that they create so much, using just recycled goat manure and the secretions from their own gular sacs.

The trip was a success in many respects. We tracked the birds’ diurnal routines, from raucous dawn chorus to the wheeling dances they do at sundown in and out of the holes of their dunghill homes. We identified two separate subspecies—one bluer than the other. We took meticulous notes on their diet, mating rituals, and construction methods. Briswald was very pleased with our achievements.

But artistically I was frustrated. Cramped in that tiny blind, in almost complete darkness, I was restricted to the more standard methods of electronic image capturing, none of which I feel do justice to the subject. It is maddening to spend hours every day in such close observation with no means of putting it to paper.

Since returning to the ship, however, I have made up for lost time. Briswald captured a breeding pair, a gift for our current sponsors. Not coincidentally, this allows him to spend the whole journey back making cold fowl, a delicacy created from their glandular secretions. In order to extract this substance he stuns them, leaving them unconscious for a few hours. This has allowed me the luxury of posing them as I wish—recreating all the elaborate scenes we observed over the past week, and painting them at my leisure.



Other mentions: Neelix planned to open a celebratory bottle of Potak cold fowl (VOY).

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