While on a top-secret mission, I found the following at the bottom of a box filled with Petersonania and cheaply-printed knockoff Fuertes prints. The first half appears to have been torn away, and the second half was scorched and smelled faintly of gasoline. I present what I could recover in the interests of literary history.


Finally, after much tribulation, you land in Seattle. Should you:

Set about turning every corvid you see into a Northwestern Crow? Turn to page 25.
Note that the pigeons look pretty much the same here as back home? Turn to page 53.
Stake out your host’s red flowers and try to id the hummingbird you saw snacking? Go to the next page.

You spend a pleasant evening in the garden and find not only a handsome Anna’s Hummingbird, but relief from the unexpected scorching heat. The next day, you and your hosts sally forth from Seattle to camp up in the Methow Valley. Spotted Owl country is at hand!

Staring up into the tall trees, you strain your eyes for a glimpes of soft-edged brown-and-white feathers. You’re not looking where you’re going, and soon you find yourself deep in the woods, out of sight of camp. The woods are uncharacteristicaly dry and warm this summer, but they still echo with the hoarse calls of Mountain Chickadees and glow with mottled light.

Mountain Chickadee on snag

It’s very beautiful, and very distracting. Maybe too distracting, because suddenly you trip over a root and land in a deep pit concealed by evergreen branches! To your surprise, you land not on soft dirt but on a neatly tiled floor. Someone has gone to a lot of work to set up this hidden room.

Three hippies in lab coats look up in alarm as you crash through their ceiling. They’re huddled around a crate labelled “Marbled Murrelets – for distribution.

“Who are you?” a big, bearded man with a ponytail, who seems to be their leader, demands.

You answer “I’m just a harmless writer!” Turn to page 18.
You say “Someone who needs a splint for her ankle. Like, right now.” Turn to page 31.
You decide you can trust them with the truth. “My code name is Pinguinis impennis, and I’m here to help.” Turn to page 7.


Written by Carrie
Carrie Laben, after years of writing and birding in New York, moved to Montana to pursue her two great passions more effectively. She recently graduated with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Montana in Missoula. When she is not cranking out essays and speculative fiction stories, or wandering around on mountains failing to see the birds she is looking for, she is likely to be drinking one of the many fine local microbrews or attending a potluck with something from the local farmer’s market in hand. On Mondays from 3 to 3:30 Mountain Time you can find her answering questions about birds on live chat at DaysAtDunrovin.com.