Report from the Field: Porgs

The beauty of the island was not enough to calm my nerves.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful island. Dark gray cliffs, bright green vegetation, rich navy water – it was truly a tapestry to behold. I had only landed on this island because I was out of fuel, but I had no idea where I was or how I was going to get back to known space. I had gone rogue less than a week ago and had already muffed it all up.

So obviously I was anxious. And beautiful as the island was, it wasn’t enough to calm my frayed nerves. But then I discovered the island’s avian inhabitants.

I’ve always been fascinated by avians. I love all creatures of the galaxy, of course, but when I was an adolescent, I spent many afternoons on Ithor searching for the varied avi-fauna. My senior thesis at Hanna University was based on a research project I did on the fidelity rates of the avian species of the Chandrilan forests. I even named my HWK-1000 light freighter after my favorite Chandrilan species –Bulabird!

PorgRef1So you can imagine my delight when the first creature I encountered on this uncharted island was an avian, small and feathered and sitting peacefully on the beach where I landed my ship. The little creature let me walk right up to it, exhibiting no signs of fear, cooing softly. It looked up at me curiously with large, black eyes and I noticed that it had no beak! Rather, there were two nostril slits above its mouth, something I’ve never observed in an avian species before.

For the rest of the day, I put all my fears about the obliteration of the New Republic behind me and let myself be consumed by these endearing avian creatures. They resembled nothing I’d ever studied before, so I felt compelled to take copious notes about their behaviors and appearance.

As I explored the island, I was struck by the ever-presence of these creatures, which in my mind, I had taken to calling “porgs.” They were on the sandy beach, out on the water, all along the ancient runes (there seems to have been sentient inhabitants on this island many millennia ago, but that is an exploration for another day), and in all the vegetation. Porgs sitting, porgs waddling, porgs flying – there was no micro-biome on this island that they did not seem to inhabit.

Their pervasiveness over the island, coupled with their complete lack of fear at my presence, leads me to believe that the porgs have no natural predators. What a funny thought, that such an awkward, adorable, helpless little avian could be the top predator on this island. I imagine these porgs wouldn’t stand a chance in the face of vulptices or varactyls, much less the rancor-filled forests of Dathomir or the rathtar-infested swamps of Twon Ketee.

PorgRef2The porgs seemed innately curious and playful and I wondered at their level of intelligence. At one point, a porg (this one with orange behind its eyes – I imagine this is a distinction of the sexes, making these avians sexually dimorphic) flew right up to me and swiped the pencil I was using to make a sketch right out of my digits!

I eventually climbed an old stone staircase up to the higher peaks of the island, porgs accompanying me the entire way. At the top I found an open field, a perfect plateau for looking out into the water that surrounded the island. It was from here that I observed that my theory about the lack of porg predators was not entirely true.

PorgDiveI observed as the porgs would fly out over the water, and then dive down into the depths, occasionally re-emerging with a fish in their mouths. Some porgs would remain floating on the water’s surface, enjoying their meal immediately upon capture. Others, however, flew back to the island, fish carefully held in their teeth. Not all the fish in the ocean were small, though. I watched as one unsuspecting porg floated along, proudly feasting upon the fish it had just caught, when, to both of our surprise, a much larger fish smoothly broke the surface of the water, opened its jaw, and consumed the unsuspecting porg, who barely had time to let out a squawk of alarm.

PorgNestAs I continued to look out on the water, one specific porg caught my eye, flying back to the island with a fish in mouth. I kept careful watch as the porg flew to the rocky cliff overlooking the water and saw a nest, with a second porg perched on top! The nest was made of vegetation probably found on the island, grasses and leaves mostly, but as I looked closer, I observed something else in the mix – it was the pencil that porg stole from me earlier! Clearly these endearing creatures are not only intelligent but also creative problem solvers too!

I will eventually need to figure out a way to get off of this island, but in the meantime, I am going to continue to observe and compile my notes on these porgs. Perhaps if I get off of this island alive, I can be responsible for presenting a new species to the Department of Biological Classification and Regulation (or whatever is left of it, anyway).

 

I will be keeping track of the different species I encounter on this journey and putting together a Field Guide of the creatures of the galaxy! My first entry, on the ineffable porgs, is here.


(Vyrdaw’s posts are translated by Danny and his sketches are drawn by Saf).