| "Birdwitching" |
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Children:||Jesse Parker (son)|
Lucy Parker was a witch and birder who lived in Sunset Grove. She was married to John Parker, a mundane with one son, Jesse. She was amazed and horrified that Jesse was interested in Kathleen O'Neill, the daughter of her nemesis Fred O'Neill.
It began normally early Yule morning with Parker making a cup of coffee to wake herself up. As she did so, she and Jesse looked out the window into the backyard and observed an Anne's hummingbird and a yellow-rumped warbler. After she finished her mug, she attuned the kitchen crystal to the Cosmos-Spanning Consortium to check what other birds Sunset Grove birders had reported. She found listed house finches, house sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, a California towhee and a barn owl. All were normal to the area (although the owl was a difficult one to spot).
She then murmured a charm and checked the Fernwood scroll. There she found double-crested cormorants, a pied-billed grebe, a northern shoveler, a California scrubjay and some American robins. Again, all birds normal to the area although some Fernwood birder must have gotten to the lagoon early that morning to spot the waterbirds.
As Parker reviewed the crystal, a flock of tiny, twittering birds flew to the apricot tree next door; bush tits. After discussing it with Jesse, she reported twenty-five on the Sunset Grove CSPANC scroll along with the hummingbird and the warbler. She then had a bagel for breakfast while Jesse scrambled some eggs for himself.
As the two ate, Jesse's pocket crystal started making the noises of a rhythmic kangaroo, that is a hip-hop ringspell. It was Kathleen. While Jesse talked with her, a couple of mourning doves landed on a platform feeder in the back yard. Lucy reported them and then re-checked the Fernwood scroll. What she saw made her explode in anger.
Fernwood reported a sighting of a yellow-billed magpie which was not indigenous to the Sunset Grove / Fernwood area. The only way this could happen (or so Lucy thought) was if "Fat Freddie" magicked it into the area. She stormed out to her study and returned with several grimoires, an armload of materia magica and a few birders' guides. She pulled out a dark green feather and a little bronze doll's crown. With these she magicked a green kingfisher into the area. This was confirmed by a Sunset Grove birder on CSPANC some fifteen minutes later.
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. The next exotic bird on the Fernwood scroll was a condor. This didn't impress Lucy since the captive-breeding program had made the California condor quite common. However, on closer examination, it turned out to be an Andean condor which was, if anything, even uglier. Lucy retaliated with a hoopoe.
O'Neill's next effort shocked Parker. It was 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 hesitated, not sure if she could manage. She chose her feathers and spell and began her incantation. The lights dimmed and the CSPANC crystal went black but she managed to attract a small flock of passenger pigeons.
Lucy brought up the CSPANC crystal but O'Neill's next move didn't show up there. Instead John called out that according to the news crystal, there was a report of a monster in Fernwood. Lucy and Jesse went into the family room to check it out and saw a Titanis, a bird that had been extinct for several million years.
Lucy hadn't thought O'Neill could manage such a large time difference but figured anything he could do, she could do better. With a supreme effort she magicked an Archaeopteryx. The side effects caused the lights to go out and both the CSPANC crystal and the news crystal in the other room to go black. After Lucy finished her spell, she fainted for a few seconds. When she recovered, she and Jesse went to the window to see what had been attracted. There they saw something the size of a crow but with lizard like features. It was a though a lizard decided to play bird but had never seen one before.
It was dive-bombed by an Anne's hummingbird and the Archaeopteryx snapped at it with it's reptilian, toothed mouth but missed. The Anne's attacked again and the Archaeopteryx had enough so it flew away. Meantime, Jesse was talking to Kathleen on his crystal (which was unaffected by the magic discharge). She passed the word to her father and he could be heard to exclaim "Fudge, I'm not gonna top that this year".
And that was that for that year's competition.