Saturday, June 14, 2008

Should an avian shifter have a strong sense of smell?

The Forbidden Chamber, my gothic paranormal manuscript--previously known as Bluebeard's Hunger, is a story with Raven shapeshifters. Even though shifters aren't real, an understanding of birds and Ravens in particular adds an authentic layer to the story. For instance, if I had my avian shifters breathing under water, it might throw the reader out of the story. Right?

Of note, Ravens are monogamous, as much as any animal, and mate for life. They are incredibly intelligent and use "tools". They have complex societal structures with various responsibilities within the flock. A flock of Ravens used to be called an unkindness, but that term is no longer common.

There is debate on whether birds have sense of smell, but research has found that some homing pigeons do have a heightened sense of smell, though they do not rely on it for "homing". I have a hunt scene, and since I do have a fantasy creature, I have decided that in this gothic tale, the heightened sense of smell works well with a strong shifter race.

Since there is debate on the extent of bird olfactory senses, during the scene, I spend some time reinforcing how scenting works. I think it adds to the idea of homing to a life mate. It's a strong concept that helps create a bond between the hero and heroine.

Isn't research fun?

Some of my resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvus_%28genus%29
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/printable/raven.html
http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Avian_Sense.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_8_168/ai_n15393211

3 comments:

Heather said...

That story sounds fun! Ravens are cool.

Ella Drake said...

Thanks, Heather. I certainly think it's fun. And your blog is great. I have to check out all the new posts! To all my legions of fans (large self-derisive snicker), check out
http://thegalaxyexpress.blogspot.com

Heather said...

Thanks for the kind words!