“Bird Identity” by Hemlock; July 2022
I am a bird therianthrope, specifically, a roadrunner therian. I do not shift much, my state of being a bird is a pretty constant mix of human and avian instincts which impacts my behavior in a way comparable to a neurodivergence. Although I have dysphoria for certain traits of being avian, I do not consider myself transspecie. My identity as a bird also includes galliformes, specifically roosters and peacocks, which are a sort of “secondary identity” for me, created from imprinting more than from my base instincts, and birds i represent myself by frequently (my main fursona is a peacock). I feel shifts from time to time of these birds, mostly phantom. I also generally consider myself avian, and am birdhearted, feeling a bond to these animals in general, my personal favorites being herons and corvids, particularly magpies.
My shifts as a roadrunner include phantom shifts, one of the only that really come and go, most often of feeling feathers on my body, be it downy feathers in the zone of the chest, which feels sort of like bigger, light hair, crest feathers, which feel a lot more rigid, and tail and wing feathers, even more so. I can usually feel individual feathers during actions such as puffing up due to the cold, sunbathing, or when I feel the urge to preen. I also feel a phantom tail rather often to balance myself, and wings from time to time overlaping my arms. I can feel the rigidity of the remiges, and the resistance to the air, which makes flapping my arms like wings really soothing. Sometimes, if my hands are used to manipulate something, my brain will interpret my hands as talons, and i’ll feel a sort of extra thumb on the other end of my hand. Otherwise, my feet will be the talons, where i feel the two extra toes of zygodactylous bird feet sprouting from my heels. I’ve also felt a beak, especially when I have the urge to manipulate food or preen with it. It’s a rather frustrating shift and makes feeling my lips and cheeks really unpleasant, I am hoping to solve it through using a bird mask. I used to have the most phantom shifts during my awakening, and they’ve calmed down by now, mostly coming up in very specific scenarios although I can provoke them.
Then I have instincts. I do not experience mental shifting, meaning that my human and therio side are basically mixed together, and i always have certain bird instincts. The ones most easily expected by folk is the fact I miss flight, but truthfully i do not miss it as much as, say, my bird of prey peers. It is for me first a way of escaping and movement, and not an inherent part of my actions, as a terrestrial bird that hunts on the ground and not from the sky. I do however very much miss it for the safety it gave me, and tend to feel very exposed and paranoid. Additionally, it is very frustrating to walk when flying would be so much more practical, and my brain sometimes maps out paths that I cannot take with this body.
Then I have the instinct to hunt, mostly directed toward animals the size of a cat or hare, or smaller. It is a very simple movement triggered reaction, although I also find myself stalking animals from time to time, my hunting instinct inducing a sort of fascination where I would never be pulled toward hurting an animal unconsciously, but I like to play out the first steps of the hunt. My hunting instincts have brought to me a particular liking to raw meat, although i have, unlike my theriotype, never tried reptiles. I’ve however eaten human safe bugs, but they are not my favorite in this life. I also enjoy foraging, and like to eat my fruits and veggies not too prepared most of the time. Truthfully, I prefer most things in their base forms, although some dishes for sure are enjoyable.
My social relationships are also impacted by my avian nature. I’ve remarked my brain has a hard time differenciating friendship and partnership to an extent. I tend to be attracted to my friends, although romance in the human way is very rare for me to feel. Additionally, I have instincts of courting toward friends and possible partners alike. These instincts include showing off, something I do through fashion, with a particular interest to bright colors (Roadrunners, to the human eye, are not different physically so this could be something imprinted from galliformes, although some experiments on bird courtship have also shown bird in general being attracted to flashy displays which could explain it) but also showing off zones where i get food and gifts of food, and generally seeking them out, which is a particular feat of affection for me, as I am, both instinctively and from my personality, rather solitary. Amusingly, my avian nature impacts my attraction : I have a particular liking for bright color in the same way i try to use them to attract other, and for birdish physical characteristics in general, making costumes involving those particularly interesting to me, although common sense stops me from considering a normal bird a potential mate (i much prefer a partner capable of consentment, thank you very much).
Physically, I tend to miss the way my body move, on a more horizontal plane than vertical, and the movements I could do. I dislike the feel of hair, which has a tendency to go against the euphoria I get from a more masculine presentation (I tend to be seen as a woman, so not shaving makes me seem more androgynous). I also tend to like neon colors as accents for my clothing, and dye my hair as bird-wise, it makes me feel “mature”, adult, in a way the simple adult human body doesn’t.
I do not want to have children, seeing my face in the mirror is already rather strange and I would dislike having to care for something with my human trait supposed to be my spawn. Additionally to that, I am just not interested in being a human parent, as my instinct dictate me to care for eggs and hatchlings as a male roadrunner (who share the task of parenthood with the females, participating in building the nest, incubating the eggs during the night, and caring for the youngs). Perhaps I will raise birds one day, but I am unsure whether it will make me feel worse or better about my humanity relating to that.
Outside of my roadrunner identity, i identify also more widely as “just a bird”, avian. I’ve had cameo shift from a lot of other bird, and see myself in galliformes, mostly, but also herons, cranes and the like, and corvids, to a lesser extent. My identity as a peacock and a cockatrice comes from how I represent myself as an anthropomorphic bird, a pink peacock. It’s also an identity I link to my gender identity, while I’m still deciding whether to go through with transition, my fursona is a nonbinary trans man and (although as a bird he wouldn’t have had breasts anyways even as a female) he sports masectomy scar marking, something I would like to do but haven’t had neither the courage nor the opportunity yet. He’s a bit of a cathartic character for all of my dysphoria.
Peacocks are associated with being vain and proud, which i somewhat like as characteristics to represent myself by in a playful way. I like standing out in the crowd, especially since I seem to have a slight case of prosopagnosia, face blindness, which led me to differentiate myself from my peers when i finally had the freedom to not only by personal style but because it helped me recognize myself in the mirror. With simply having short dyed hair, in contrary to beforehand having attempted to let them grow out to try and be “more feminine” to forget my dysphoria (did not work), I went from never having a single picture of me and hiding mirrors to a playful narcissism which suits me much better. I like to be “birdy”, and although instinct participate a lot in what i do, I also purposefully do not mask. I let myself trill and squawk and meep, be colorful and eccentric, and talk about my nonhumanity when asked without a second thought. This probably comes from the fact I tried to hide my weirdness to no avail during my middle and high school year due to bullying, and as it turns out, being confidently eccentric makes it much harder for assholes to truly get to you.