I Like Birds

When I linked to my last Oz post on Facebook, people gave a few more examples of birds I hadn’t mentioned, including some people turned into birds and other birds from authors outside the Famous Forty. I believe the first case of the former is in “Ozma and the Little Wizard,” one of the Little Wizard Stories, the Wizard turns the mischievous Imps into various forms, including doves. He reasons that they’re harmless, but it doesn’t make the Imps any more peaceful.

The dove form is popular in the series. In Tik-Tok of Oz, Ruggedo transforms the Shaggy Man into a dove because he has the Love Magnet. Dorothy uses the Magic Belt to do the same to Ugu in Lost Princess, but since she doesn’t specify a dove of peace, he uses his own magic to turn into a giant, vengeful dove of war.

She does manage to shrink him down again after that, though. I understand that doves can actually be pretty aggressive, so maybe a dove of war makes more sense than it would seem, despite their being symbols of peace.

Mrs. Yoop in Tin Woodman turns Polychrome into a canary and the Tin Woodman into a tin owl, and when Ozma disenchants the former, one of the intermediate forms is another dove, followed by a speckled hen. The disenchantment of Prince Bobo in Rinkitink is also done in stages, and for some reason one of the forms is an ostrich, even though all the others are mammals. But then, it’s also impossible to remove Woot the Wanderer‘s green monkey form, and you’d think that would be a relatively minor change. During the party in Road, the Good Witch of the North turns ten stones into ten birds, then into lambs and girls.

There are a lot of transformations in Magic, Kiki Aru first uses the magic word to turn into a hawk, then later into a white dove (everybody loves that one, apparently), a magpie, and an eagle.

He turns Ruggedo into a smaller eagle, and later into a goose.

The Nome in that form worries that he’ll lay an egg, but since “goose” technically refers to females but is colloquially used for both sexes, we don’t know whether his fear is warranted. We learn in Ruth Plumly Thompson’s Lost King that Mombi turned Pajuka, the former Prime Minister of Oz, into a goose, but he’s still referred to as male while in that form.

Queen Coo-ee-oh of the Skeezers is turned into a diamond swan by the poison created by Rora Flathead.

In Royal Book, Sir Hokus of Pokes accidentally wishes himself into bird form on Wish Way, but it doesn’t last long. I mentioned the Wizard of Mo and Grampa and company turning into crows in an earlier post.

When Mogodore steals the Magic Belt in Jack Pumpkinhead, he tests it out by turning Scraps into a bird.

In Ojo, Mooj turns her into a cuckoo clock, but the cuckoo can operate independently to some extent. Something similar happens with Poco in Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s Rundelstone when Slyddwyn turns him into a wooden cuckoo clock. Ojo also has Ozma turning Mooj into a sparrow, although she doesn’t leave him in that form for long. She also transforms pirates into seagulls in Pirates, Faleero into a raven in Purple Prince, and a red eagle into a sparrow in Wishing Horse.

And the Mimics in Magical Mimics turn themselves into birds at various times, including the many-colored ones they become to invade the Emerald City.

Several birds appear in Forbidden Fountain, some natural and some magical. A hedgebird named Oliver leads an amnesiac Ozma out of a maze. The Bordermoor, on the border between the Gillikin and Winkie Countries, has two-colored borderbirds, one of whom named Oscar serves as a spy for the Purple Wolf. And when Ozma and Lambert fall into Camouflage Creek, they take the form of canaries, among other animals.

David Hulan’s Glass Cat has Barry and Becky Klein learn the magic transformation word from Magic, and take multiple forms including a few avian ones: peregrine falcons, sparrows, crows, wood ducks, hawks, and goldfinches.

While Barry is in crow form, other crows somehow recognize that it’s not his natural form. The Great Grey Gillikin Swamp is home to bush-birds in Eric Shanower’s Blue Witch. Melody Grandy and Chris Dulabone’s Thorns and Private Files introduces Benny, a Canadian gander who settles in Cyrune, a kingdom in the Winkie Country.

Jared Davis wrote “Tommy Kwikstep and the Magpie,” in which the titular magpie is named Corina and crows in accordance with an old counting rhyme.

There’s a curmudgeonly vulture named Yeksh living in the Great Gillikin Forest in Hugh Pendexter’s The Crocheted Cat in Oz, and he temporarily takes giant form due to a shape-switching spell cast by the Golden Witch.

When Tempus in Edward Einhorn’s Paradox says that a Parrot-Ox is the offspring of a parrot and an ox, Ozma states that there are no parrots in Oz. Another book released around the same time, Gina Wickwar’s Hidden Prince, has a blue Ozian parrot named Beak, however. Mombi is familiar with parrots, as in Lost King, she tells Snip, “You talk too much. If I could remember my magic I’d turn you to a parrot!” That raises the question as to why parrots would be particularly associated with talking in a land where pretty much all birds can talk. In Sky Island, there’a a blue parrot who both speaks English, often in rhyme, and barks like a dog, a former pet of Princess Sapphire who becomes loyal to Trot. He later joins the girl and her companions on their journey, and ends up living in the Pink Country with Rosalie. He refers to himself as Polly, the generic name for parrots, but David Tai gives him the name Cyan, or Cy for short (and not just at the door), in “Diplomatic Immunity.” Roger the Read Bird also has parrot-like features. And Phyllis Ann Karr’s Gardener’s Boy introduces Parrot Island in the Nonestic Ocean, ruled by Queen Klurookuk, who has magic silver feathers that can turn humans into parrots and vice versa. She takes many consorts, and transforms them into humans and sends them away when she’s tired of them.

In the course of the tale, she turns Captain Edward Dauntless into a parrot, hoping to marry him, and making him more susceptible to her will in the process. Ugu in dove form helps Candy Longtaw to rescue him. Marcus Mebes’ Royal Explorers sub-series also has a parrot, actually a Phanfasm named Polimodellano in disguise.

This entry was posted in Animals, Characters, Chris Dulabone, David Tai, Edward Einhorn, Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Eric Shanower, Gina Wickwar, Hugh Pendexter, Jack Snow, Jared Davis, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Magic Items, Marcus Mebes, Melody Grandy, Oz, Oz Authors, Phyllis Ann Karr, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Like Birds

  1. Bryan T Babel says:

    Those barrel-birds you showed on your Tumblr look like “barrel-dactyls”.

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