Birds Of A Feather

By and for Bird-People

About Tsu


I’m Tsu, a large, feathered alien-in-human-form, existing somewhere between legends and physical reality.

At some times, I have identified with the swan maiden of legends, and I find there is something very powerful about the stories. From a personal perspective, something about the precious cloak that holds your true nature, the desire to protect it at any cost from someone who might steal it, and the fear that you will lose it, speaks to me, though I don’t know why. The traditional story is also very powerful to me as a therian story in general – the story of someone who was foolish to step on human land, was caught and made a prisoner of the humans, and now is forced to live there while longing for their own body and world, is something that I’m sure speaks to a lot of therians.

And there is something very beautiful and alien about the fact that, in most stories, when the swan maiden finally finds her cloak and prepares to leave the human world, she never looks back.

But, as a therian, and someone who spends a lot of time making effort to see my species in person, I also know that the legends are only half the story. They have their own meaning and life that is real and true, but also, they are very far from the physical reality of the swan. Humans have traditionally thought of the swan as a bird of great grace and beauty, almost angelic in nature. But swans are also heavy, sometimes clumsy, aggressive, loud, and unemotional about hurting others to get what they want. As a swan, I have to balance all of this with existing in a society in a way that doesn’t get me or others, hurt or killed.

But, one positive thing about the physical swan nature, is that they are very fearless. It’s hard to scare a swan. And that’s what brings me here.

Blanche, a 14-year-old mute swan at the Palace of Fine Arts, resting close to me without fear. My photo.

It’s hard to scare me. My nature is to be bold… maybe too bold. I’m a reckless person. I know that one day, probably I will end up in an accident I regret.

But, this situation means that I am comfortable talking about my therian nature in public. I actually don’t know how to live while hiding a thing like this. I have never been able to “pretend to be normal”. I can’t put on a mask. There is only me. And so, I feel, because I am comfortable, it is a responsibility that I have to talk, and try to teach others more about the therian nature, and also to share with other therians my experiences, so that we have a collection of writings that we can use to help to understand each other, our selves, and, our situation.

So, that’s one reason I’m really excited about Birds of a Feather. Because, there has not been a lot of writing for or by bird people in the past: it seems to be a cycle. There is no writing out there, so people don’t have the words to talk about bird nature, so they don’t write, so there is no writing out there… I feel clumsy with words, but, I feel that we have to begin somewhere, and if we share these first rough writings about our bird nature, it can begin to develop into a conversation where we learn better words to express our selves. But, if we never begin, we will never find the right words.

This is why I am here. To share my clumsy, rough swan-words, and hopefully, in some months and years, watch this build into a conversation that can help us all as therians.

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