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Fred O'Neill
Fictional Character
"Birdwitching"
POD:Prehistory
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: United States
Occupation: Witch
Spouse: Samantha O'Neill
Children: Kathleen O'Neill (daughter)

Fred O'Neill was a witch and birder who lived in Fernwood. He was married to Samantha O'Neill, a mundane with one daughter, Kathleen. He was amazed and horrified that Kathleen was interested in Jesse Parker, the son of his nemesis Lucy Parker.

O'Neill and his daughter regularly took part in the annual Yule Bird Count. A few days before Yule, some of his birding buddies suggested that Parker may have inflated Sunset Grove's count by magicking birds into the area. He said he would make sure Sunset Grove wouldn't win by cheating.

On Yule Day, the competition began normally enough with Fernwood reporting double-crested cormorants, a pied-billed grebe, a northern shoveler, a California scrubjay and some American robins while Sunset Grove reported house finches, house sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, a California towhee, a barn owl, an Anne's hummingbird and a yellow-rumped warbler. But things turned magickal when Fernwood reported a yellow-billed magpie which was not indigenous to the area. Fred learned through his daughter that Lucy Parker thought he had magicked the bird in and that she retaliated with a green kingfisher. Fred maintained that the magpie happened to be in the area but with Lucy's admitted use of magic, the battle was on.

O'Neill retaliated with four black vultures whose natural range is the southeastern USA. Lucy came back with a black-backed woodpecker from the northwestern USA. O'Neill then magicked a smew to which Lucy returned with a black-throated magpie-jay. Fred countered with an Andean condor and Lucy retaliated with a hoopoe.

Fred then escalated with a Carolina Parakeet, a bird that had been extinct for almost a hundred years. Attracting birds by magic through space was relatively simple. Through time, it was much more difficult and took much more magic. Lucy was not deterred and managed to attract a small flock of passenger pigeons. Fred reached back further in time and attracted a Titanis, a bird that had been extinct for several million years. But Lucy trumped with an Archaeopteryx, the first known species of bird.

As Fred told his daughter when he heard about it through a crystal call from Jesse: "Fudge, I'm not gonna top that this year".

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