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August 2010

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Albino (Western)

scrubjay in avianthropes

Why these and not those?

So, then. Some identifiers are more common than others. More people identify with wolves and big cats in the therian community in general, and among us avian types, more people identify with raptors or corvids. But...why is this? Where's the similarities? Is it the charismatic predator fallacy at play, making us more inclined to want to share kinship with something admired, or is it just because the people who identify as gulls, wrens, woodpeckers, and oropendolas find it harder to get in touch with that feeling?

I know, it's a loaded topic, and it can sway into territories of rejection, but I am decidedly curious. Might be corvid nature of my own, wanting to poke at it to see if it bites, or it might be my psittacine side, the part that would chew right through the perch I'm standing on because chewing is fun. (Doubt the hummingbird has much to do with it.) And I know that it's been explored over and over in other therian circles, but I'm interested to see if here, among the avian, any parallels can be drawn, and if there are any concepts made clearer in this group.

So, what are your thoughts? Are there lines of parallels between the raptors and corvids (the latter almost exclusively raven or crow) to the canines and felines due to their charismatic predator status (or pseudostatus)? Is this because we get more exposure to animals such as these and therefore have the deck in our favor for feeling out an identity? Or is it just because that's the way it is? :>


I think it's probably just one of those things :B

But the reason I identify so strongly as crow has more to do with the scavenger & survival instincts than anything. My therianthropy is almost solely based on instinct - I don't shift and I very rarely feel phantom limbs. I also have some sort of kinship with vultures, but haven't explored that too deeply yet. *shrug*

Also, I think I am a carrion crow (corvus corone), because of their location & climate, or a common crow (corvus brachyrhynchos) because of their widespread distribution & adaptability, or a mix of the two. But, I generally use "crow" as a catch-all term for "corvid". I don't think that there's enough behavioral difference to make it worth narrowing it down to an exact species. :3
Is this because we get more exposure to animals such as these and therefore have the deck in our favor for feeling out an identity?

I'm inclined to put it mostly on this. I mean, I don't even know what "oropendolas" are, so I could see how people who end up as uncommon things like that would have a harder time figuring it out.
I wouldn't say that raptors and corvids are more admired. In many cases, they are disliked, or not even noticed at all. :( Then there is the crowd that don't like raptors because "tehy are teh eval and wil1 eet ur songbirdz..." Yeah. Then, there are the ranchers out there that still want to kill them all, and still try to, illegal or not.

I'm not sure why that is - that's one question I've never been able to figure out, exactly. I know that for myself, I am honest, and it's not because I want to be this cool, majestic animal. It's because in working with birds of prey, I've realized that I can understand/communicate with them and alongside that, I've realized that some major part of me is hawk.

Why some are more common, though, I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if it has to do with the species - for instance, red-tails (from what I've seen, the most common raptor-theriotype) and corvids are really common. I've wondered if it's that, but then, sadly, are wolves that common? Are large felines? So there, again, I don't really know.
are wolves that common? Are large felines?

I've only met a handful of corvid therians. Sure, they're a pretty "popular" theriotype when you consider other bird therians (it's kinda 50% corvids, 49% raptors and like 1% other), but when you compare it to all the other therians in general, birds make up a small percentage. *shrug*

Sorry if I misunderstood your question.
Oops... I should have said non-therian wolves and felines - as in, the ones who are actually physically canines and felines. I was saying that actual red-tailed hawks and crows/ravens are pretty common, and that could have something to do with it, but then, I asked the question of whether actual wolves/wild felines were common.
I think a lot of it has to do with people's exposure to a variety (or lack thereof) of birds and animals. They may feel "hawk" energy and equate it to the most common on they see, even if deep down it's an exotic species they've never heard of. One would hope that that species would eventually show itself to that person and they would realize it.

I also think a lot of people choose their animals rather than truly feeling what it is. I know an artist that would give anything to have Tiger as her personal identifier, but it's Raven. I thought for a long time it was Wolf for me, turns out it was Pronghorn with Raven constantly pulling at my ears.

I think a lot of these animals are prominent in popular culture and therefore more accessible to a lot of people. My favorite deer? The muntjac...a species not many people know about.

I also think that a lot of people admire animals for stereotyped here-say stories and definitions that they aren't willing to look at the animal kingdom and truly find their match or current totem. To me, they are truly missing the point!

I often feel self conscious about admitting I have Raven energy...but I've never been so sure of something. And it's so unbelievably frustrating when I meet "raven" people who know nothing about actual ravens.
Not sure what I can add to this. I suppose I'm stereotypical enough, especially since it seems the white gyrfalcon is the most popular manifestation when it comes to gyrfalcons. It's just what's right for me. I'd say that I do share enough traits to make it such a fit. And since I know little of the other communities, I won't venture an opinion there. But I have seen plenty of people claiming something they aren't, just because they think it confers some sort of status. I'm not looking for status, I'm looking for a sense of familiarity and rightness, and it happens to align this way, as far as I can tell.
Like some others I do believe people are more likely to identify with something they've been more exposed to (and not directly because they've "missed" a spefic species). Feline, canine and corvine/bird of prey imagery certainly is very powerful in many cultures including ours (Western,) and I think it comes into play in the way our identity is constructed: we're more likely to identify with those categories rather than those that have little place/power in our system of beliefs and "psyche", and we are more likely to identify with the most-well known or popular animals within those groups.

This doesn't mean the identification isn't valid; of course there also are a lot of people who seem to "pick" their animal, which makes the general pattern/trend worse, but among those who are genuine, I think it's what I just described (a very natural/common psychological processes in the way individuals construct themselves) that causes the high number of canine/feline/predatory birds population among animal-folk.

Edited at 2008-05-08 08:08 am (UTC)
I actually did quite a bit of research before officially attaching 'Raven' to myself. I was very self conscious about it- and wanted to make sure as best as I could that Raven was my theriotype, especially since it's a more 'popular' avian to show up in the therian community.

When I first started feeling bird it came to me as Magpie. Don't know why, it just did. I then researched magpies, found it wasn't a good match, and moved on to other corvids, and other birds. I looked into raptors, parrots, vultures and many others. I even pondered Grackles for a bit, since I have a great fondness for the ones who visit my yard each summer. It finally came down to Raven, as there are traits with crows I just don't share. As far as I know this is accurate, but I'm always digging, searching and scraping for new info that might lead me elsewhere. So far I haven't found it.

As has been said, I believe that there are certain animals that humans identify with easier, either because they're more studied, or they share traits human society holds dear (or in some cases, loathes). This allows folks to be exposed to their potential theriotype, and leads them closer to discovery. Less studied or known species are rarer because folks may just not know how to relate- or therians may never even know to look that way (thus sticking with a 'common' pheno).

I didn't chose my theriotype, and I'm always open to see if I'm wrong- if perhaps I am something else that is close but not the same. So far, though, I'm Raven all the way. ;>

Appologies for the rambling. ;>
I do think it has something to do with the publicity of certain species. The most readily available myths and stories are about ravens/crows and raptors get a log of social publicity in the media anymore. I think it's something that people can relate to as well, as these creatures also - because of myth and media - get personified fairly readily.

No idea if there is anything to the commonality of raptors (birds of prey) and corvids being manifest among avian therians...until I discovered this website I didn't think Corvids or ANY avian therian was overly common at all! Most therian sites consist of mammals of some predatory nature.

I actually didn't WANT to be a Raven simply because when I was part of the gothic circles it would seem "just too convenient" to those in the gothic crowd that I was a Raven theriotype...in actual fact I loathed the idea that I was a Raven and wished I was something else but we cannot choose what we are...we simply ...are...and the commonality of a species in any given geographic area I believe, has nothing to do with it since I have encountered a therian who I call a brother and he is a white tiger...I am pretty sure they are not that common in Ontario Canada! Siberian tigers are not that common in general. I also know of a therian who is a Dire Wolf...and dire wolves have been extinct for over 10,000 years.

I don't know what else to say other than this: it seems that animals or birds of preadatory or opportunistic nature seem to feature more prominently among therians than any other kind of bird or animal. Why?....shrugs...