Gynnia (sometimes also referred to as "Gynn" in singular form) are small, thickly feathered birds living in cold regions in Northern Sarvonia and in the islands of Cyhalloi. There are four types of Gynnia, separated by appearance and habitat. They are the Snow Gynnia, which lives in places completely covered in snow, such as the islands of Cyhalloi, the Heath Gynnia, which lives in heaths in the Northern Sarvonian region such as the Wilshire Heath, the Forest Gynnia, which lives in woods and groves such as the Shaded Forest, and the Rock Gynnia, which is almost exclusively found in the Stone Fields of Peat.

Appearance. The Gynnia is a rather small bird, rather round. It may sometimes be considered to be fat, but most of the birdís width is actually feathers. The Gynn weighs anywhere from 10 to 24 muts, depending on gender, age, and region. An average Gynn is a little less than two palmspans in height, though there have been many cases where a Gynn outgrew this measurement, as well as the measurement that marked their length from breast to the tip of the tail-feather to be about two palmspans. The various habitats in which the Gynnia live often produces many different shapes and sizes.

The color of a Gynnís plumage depends on the region in which it lives, but all Gynnia have feathers covering their clawed feet. The talons of the Gynnia are by no means used for hunting, but rather for gripping and sometimes even digging. These birds have relatively small beaks, only a little over a nailsbreadth in size, but for the Gynnia, the beak is suited to its diet of small insects and plants. The cocks of this species often grow fleshy bulges around the beak that show age and dominance. The birdís eyes are always round and black often big in comparison to the body.

The for different types of Gynnia can be described as follows:

Special Abilities. The Gynnia, despite its small head, is extremely clever; particularly in the way it avoids being game for hunters. Its sharp and sure movements make it hard to follow and difficult to see once it comes to a stop. It also tends to know the terrain well, and can run its predators through a maze before it finally ducks into an inconspicuous hole in a grove or cluster of large rocks. They are extremely fast, especially when their life depends on speed. It is said that their endurance isnít very good, but to this, no one can be sure; none have ever chased it for more than 10 peds without it ducking into a hole or vanishing from site.

Because of the Gynniaís cleverness and speed, most human and elven hunters have set to making traps to catch these quick little birds. It is believed that orcs may also set traps, but arenít nearly as successful as their human and elven counterparts.
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Territory. The Gynnia makes its home in the North, where the weather is cold and harsh. Gynnia donít wander anywhere below the Tandala Highlands, and on no continents others than Sarvonia and Cyhalloi. They thrive in this environment which they have grown so accustomed to, and dwell in almost every habitat in the north, including plains, forests, and even the brutal Stone Fields of Peat.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The Gynniaís habitat depends upon its species, but most are able to use the resources available to it to make their nests and homes.

Snow and Rock Gynnia, because of the harsh environment in which these two species live, depend highly upon their feathers, both the ones still connected to their bodies and those that have molted off. Molted feathers make up the majority of nests. Snow Gynnia tend to build themselves small, shallow grooves in the snow, usually near trees or some other vegetation, from which they can borrow the leaves to build their nests along with their feathers. Rock Gynnia tend to shoot for inconspicuous caverns in the rocks, where their nests are pillowed with small pebbles and feathers.

Forest and Heath Gynnia have far more resources at their disposal. Many Heath Gynnia set their nests up near trees, sometimes even near groves where they share the protection of the trees with their wood-dwelling cousins. The Forest and Heath Gynnia use grasses and twigs in their nests, along with any other soft things they can find. They have been known to soften their nests with bits of human or elven hair, and even the hair of other animals. They, of course, use their own molted feathers as well.

The nest of a Gynn tends to be about one and a half palmspans in diameter, though often the size may depend on the number of eggs, and a nest may be altered to accommodate a large family.

Gynnia are fairly curious animals, which can easily get them into trouble. They will often watch as danger approaches them, without the thought that they might end up being a predatorís next meal. They will come amazingly close to nomadic settlement and peck through belongings, or taste certain strange foods that come with foreign travelers. Once they have inspected something carefully, though, and seemingly reached some verdict about it, they will move on without much care.

Gynnia, while curious, can also be a bit volatile. Once they discover themselves to be in danger, they will do all they can to escape. If caught, they can and will use their beak and talons to help get free again. They truly fight until the end to retain freedom.

These birds are sociable or hostile depending on the season. In spring, when mating actually begins, males will become intolerant of other males, and will establish territories that they defend in sometimes violent aerial chases, and with the use of various screaming, gurgling, and croaking noises. Females often choose their mate carefully, and will make a nest within his territory. The male remains very protective of the nest and hen until the eggs hatch.

In late autumn and summer, male and female seem to split, the fledglings separating into their appropriate flocks. Males tend to wander, searching for food independently or in small groups, while females will often join together in large flocks. The reason for this behavior is yet unknown. When the winter snows come, though, the Gynnia become rather sociable, moving erratically in nomadic groups, feeding and roosting close together in the snow or in any shelter that they can find.
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Diet. The diet of these birds depends on their location, but nuts and seeds are a main part of the diet for most Gynnia, regardless of location. They will, from time to time, also eat insects, such as the dergimar fly and seeŠn beetles. Heath and Forest Gynnia will feed on berries if and when they can find them, but tend to have a good supply of nuts and seeds upon which they can feed. If times get rough, Heath Gynnia have been known to dig for roots and bulbs that may dwell just below the surface. Forest Gynnia will, when supplies get sparse, eat the bark of some trees.

But tree bark is a rather regular part of the diet for Snow Gynnia. In their harsh climate, they will take almost anything they can get. They will feed on small shoots in the snow, roots and all, and, like the Heath Gynnia, will dig for underground seeds and bulbs. They will also eat anything they might find in the earth, such as worms. They are quick to gobble up any insects that they might find.

Rock Gynnia, like their snow-dwelling cousins, live in an area of limited resources. They eat whatever they can. They have often been around the carcasses of dead animals, not eating the remains, but rather prefering the flies that swarm around it. They feed off flies like the dergimar, but also eat their fair share of seeds and nuts, particularly from plants like peat grass, and moss such as the squrim moss. They, unlike the other species, donít have the ability to dig for underground goodies, and thus must take advantage of what they have.
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A Gynnia  Egg

View picture in full size  A tiny Gynnia egg. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

Mating. Gynnia donít begin mating until the early spring. During this time, males establish and defend territories viciously, each male fighting to get a piece of land with the most resources. Usually the strongest males get the most valuable piece of land. This attracts the female, who, approving of a piece of territory, will settle in the maleís territory and mate with him. Males only mate with one female whose nest he can protect in the coming weeks.

In the weeks before the eggs come, the female will gather up what resources she can to build her nests. All Gynnia use their feathers to pad their nests, but some will also use twigs, grass, and even hair and ribbon if they find it, to help in making their nests. Usually about six weeks after mating, six to ten eggs fill up the nest. The eggs blend into the background, typically being brown or gray, usually a very light grey or even white for Snow Gynnia.

These eggs are incubated for six weeks before they hatch, and from birth are fairly independent. They can move and see well from birth, though it may take about 8 to 10 weeks for the chicks to finally get their flight feathers, though they can fly at about 4 to 6 weeks without too much trouble. They soon leave the nest, and by autumn, the males will begin foraging for winter and female will join the large flocks that their gender is known for making in the autumn.

Gynnia typically live for approximately 13 years, though some have lived as long as 21.
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Usages. Gynnia are fairly small birds, but they do make a nice meal and are rather fun to hunt for most. Their meat, if cooked properly, can be very juicy and delicious. Depending on the species, some Gynnia may require a bit more spicing than others, as they can at times be bland. Heath and Forest Gynnia, however, are believed to be the most flavorful, perhaps because of their broader diet.

Gynnia are also an enjoyable game for hunting. Many find that catching them takes a lot of skill. Not only is silence key, but also quickness and steadiness with a bow, if you intend upon shooting it. Some have designed creative ways of trapping these birds, one of which is a cage that closes in the back. Such traps often use seeds as bate, and they are often used for many other game as well, are called Gynn Traps.

The feathers of the Gynnia, especially the down feathers, are very soft and especially warm, and are thus sometimes used for making pillows and stuffing blankets. The feathers, while being warm, are not outstandingly beautiful, and thus arenít commonly used for decoration or anything of that sort. Some, however, believe that the foot of a Gynnia will bring one good luck in hunting, or help one in improved intelligence and speed.
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Researchers. Alverin Silaon (631-467 b.S.) of the Meladrhim tribe is one of the most indepth researchers of Gynnia. Though initially born among Meladrhim, he eventually went to studying among the InjerŪn. He and a group of others went out into Northern Sarvonia to observe what they saw. It is said that this group made it all the way to the eastern coast, but most believe that they made it no farther than the Heath of Wilderon before having to turn back. During this trip, Silaon recorded extensive notes on the Heath Gynnia, and continued his studies when he returned to the Shaded Forest, watching the Forest Gynnia.

A Remusian man named Alvador Gendin (230?-? b.S.) was the first to take note of the Rock Gynnia, which he mentioned in his journals of his travels through Northern Sarvonia. Very little is known about him, as his journals were found nearly 700 years after his time. While the entries were dated, the date of his death was not, nor was his exact birth date, so much of what is known about him are educated estimates.

A Kasumarii researcher by the name of Ameril Dielii (117-162) was the first to mention the Snow Gynnia, but having only mentioned it briefly, very little is known of this bird. Most of the information available is made up of general assumptions.
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