Robyn Hoodie chapter 24: The winning of the golden sparrow

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So far, Miss Charles, the faux-bearded Biology teacher has survived teaching at our school. (According to Joan, only a few contenders are left in the betting scheme). As a community service (and to see if anyone was listening) she asked us to join the annual bird count. She also mentioned that there would be a prize for the student with the highest score, but only with photos as proof.

Not sure whether she was the only one listening, Robyn asked around to see how she could win this thing. From Mrs. Micelli, we were able to procure an obscure book on ornithology, with great pictures.

On the day of the bird count, we set up our cameras and shot a picture of every single photo in the book, except the ones in black and white. (We edited out the mountains on some pictures to be sure) Then we started looking outside, to see if anything moved in our garden as well. According to the rules, you could count every bird only once, but since the birds didn’t tell us their first names we decided that consecutive counting worked much better. Giving the assembled birds a slight scare to have them leave and then come back again worked very well for the total numbers.

After counting for about three hours we got the following score:

Bird typeCountRemarks
Wood pigeon12.5One remained sitting on the fence, so only he front half was counted
SR-71 Blackbird0Too fast, at 2,193.2 miles per hour top speed
Jackdaw36No Jilldaws found
Nearly every bird from the book1 each

Grand total: 1823 birds of over 600 different species.


The next lesson, the teacher took Robyn to a separate chat-box to ask her some questions. She asked how my sister managed to capture the images of so many non-native and marine birds in our backyard and even one of a long extinct species.

After some deliberation and using her calculator, the teacher proclaimed Robyn the winner of the Golden sparrow award (a Jack Sparrow figurine covered in glue and golden glitters), since she was the only one to have made an attempt at all, fraudulent or not.

Two days later the teacher gave an updated score (after having looked through all of our photos). It was:

Bird typeCountRemarks
Tit74 greater, 3 coal
Wood pigeon3One with woodworm problems
SR-71 Blackbird1According to the teacher, we accidentally got one in the background of some sparrows, but she won’t tell us which photo because it is classified information that could get us blacklisted or even in jail, if we ever visited the States
Shepherd's pie3Consumed by teacher while counting
Finch3Not easily scared, so no doubles here
Robyn1(But not part of the Aves Class)

If the next assignment could win me a Platinum Elizabeth Swann 1 figurine, I’m in…

1Will Turner is also possible, because that could refer to the “Turner’s Eremomela”, an NT (nearly threatened) species from the Republic of Congo, but that is less likely.

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