[A Bird of Legend]
The Erbe Scenic Route is a road lined with beautiful groves of slender trees on each side of its cobbled path. A notable site frequently appearing in ancient royal court literature, it is thought by researchers that the scenery which knights once laid eyes on was far more spectacular than that which is seen today.
Sadly, those vivid colors appearing in days of yore have long since been lost. Those awe-inspiring hues of which are written in poem and song refer to the plumage of a single bird. Its name: the Erbe Woodpecker.
Presently, it is exceptionally rare to catch a glimpse of this brilliant azure bird. In fact, its extinction has even been suggested on more than a few occasions.
In an interesting light, traditional songs sung by knights of times past make frequent mention of these birds as being a common sight. It undoubtedly seems as though there used to exist an incomparably large population of these woodpeckers in contrast with their meager numbers in recent times. This brings us to the pivotal question of: What fate exactly befell these birds over the course of the last several hundred years?
[A Peculiar Mode of Life]
Although the Erbe Woodpecker is in fact a woodpecker, it does not peck holes in the trunks of trees. The reason being: it cannot.
In general, woodpeckers use their beaks to bore holes in the boles of trees for nesting, but for the Erbe Woodpecker, this is an impossible task. Consequently, they figured out another way to deal with this problem. Even if they do not bore the hole themselves, there are many other nesting holes for them to choose from.
That's right, they will usurp a nesting hole made by another species of woodpecker.
The Erbe Woodpecker, with a beak perfect for catching insects and its clever ploy of stealing a fellow's nesting hole, was believed to have the traits that would allow it to prosper indefinitely.
[Invasion by an Invasive Species]
A sudden change occurred when a new, larger species of woodpecker came to live in the forests inhabited by the Erbe Woodpecker. This larger species had managed to migrate by way of boat from its distant, native land.
As nautical technology developed and trade began to flourish, the coming and going of marine vessels became increasingly dynamic. However, those which traveled on these boats and ships were not always human.
Blending in with various freight and cargo, these creatures from other lands managed to come ashore one after another. With the introduction of this larger species of woodpecker, those smaller species which were once endemic to Liberl gradually left the Erbe Forest in search of new habitats. Life also became problematic for the Erbe Woodpecker as its nesting hole size differed greatly from the outsiders'. Yet, despite these drawbacks, it continued to stay in the forest.
With the other small species of its habitat being driven out, finding another woodpecker's nesting hole became increasingly difficult. If a nesting hole could not be found, the Erbe Woodpecker, of course, could not reproduce either. Thus, chances for reproduction among its kind gradually decreased, and a long era of decline set in among them.
[Cleverness and Their Eventual Downfall]
The Erbe Woodpecker, with its clever methodology of using the nesting holes of others, enjoyed a brief period of prosperity. However, having abandoned their ability to bore holes for themselves some millennia before left them unable to cope with the abrupt changes in their environment. On the other hand, those other species of woodpeckers, despite having been displaced by invasive species countless times, have continued to prosper today as they have in times past.
There are many things which we ourselves can learn from these tiny birds. So if you should happen to see one of these azure rarities flying amongst the trees of the grove-bordered avenue on the Erbe Scenic Route, please remember the struggle they have been forced to endure.
- Erbe is a German word which translates to "heritage".