There are these really funny birds that hang around the house every now and then. They’re obviously pretty intelligent, they get into everything and I’ve even seen them playing a few times. I heard an odd noise coming from a some boxes full of old wood pieces one day, and when I looked a bit closer it was one of these guys swinging on a broken wooden leg. He’d swing upside down and toss some of the wood bits below him from side to side, then swing right side up again, much like the way parrots play sometimes.
They also have a really interesting look to them. They’re shaped a lot like a black bird or grackle, but their beaks are enormous and take up most of their face! Also, they can easily fly, but I’ve noticed they prefer to run along the ground when they can. They lift their wings up a bit, put their heads down low and sprint and hop along. The first time I saw them their was a small group of them doing just that between the razor wire on the fence outside. That, plus the fact that they’re all black, makes them look just like ninjas on a mission.
I went on a mission to find the name of these birds, but no one I asked seemed to know much about them. The locals around here call them “Sanates” or “Zantas”, but I think that’s used as a generic term for small black birds. After a few frustrating hours on the internet and about a hundred google searches later I finally found them. They’re called Ridge (or Groove?) Billed Ani’s. Unfortunately I don’t know much more about them than their name, but here’s a good image I found of two of them, since my sketch is so sloppy.
Did you notice their feet?? Two toes in front and two in back!