Posted: Feb 24 2005, 09:55 AM
In late July or early August of 1968, the Yellow Warblers began their southward migration. During migration, King Rockford IXâ€™s personal secretary was eaten by a Cooperâ€™s hawk. Olivier, the governor of the QuÃ©bec-to-French-Guyana flocks, suggested a Warbler he knew named Woodstock as a replacement. Woodstock was hired before the flocks reached Mexico. When King Rockford and Queen Harriet settled down in their winter home in Costa Rica, Woodstock settled with them and started to copy edicts, court transcripts, tax records, and other royal business.
Come spring, it was back north they went. They met up with other flocks and off they went. But King Rockfordâ€™s chamberlain, Lord Starfeather, set himself up as a rival king. Some(such as Woodstock, Olivier, a guard named Conrad, and Bill the jester) were fiercely loyal to Rockford while other warblers were equally supportive of Starfeather, but most bided their time to see who came out on top. Such coups dâ€™Ã©tat were frequent, and failed about as often as they succeeded.
One day, a servant who was secretly in the pay of Starfeather told Rockford, â€œBeware. Starfeather sent a body double to take your place.â€ The servant indicated a bird. â€œThere he(the double) is!â€
â€œFight scar is on the wrong side,â€ said Rockford. â€œBut Iâ€™ll show that clown.â€
â€œNO!â€ exclaimed Woodstock. â€œTHATâ€™S YOUR MAJESTYâ€™S OWN REFLECTION IN THE WINDOW!â€ The king flew into the window and fell to the ground. A distressed child carefully picked up the body and took it inside, thinking there was still life in it. But King Rockford IX of the Yellow Warblers was dead.
The servant took Starfeatherâ€™s old position of chamberlain, and King Starfeather VII was crowned. He gave Woodstock, Olivier, Conrad, Bill, Harriet, and many others the choice of permanent exile and no access to wintering grounds or else being fed to a Cooperâ€™s hawk. They struck out on their own.
They wandered aimlessly to wherever the food was, but most perished during the winter. Only Bill, Woodstock, Olivier, Harriet, and Conrad remained alive. Then in the spring of 1970, they made a life-changing discovery.
They entered a neighborhood Bill had visited during the 1967 spring migration. He remembered a friendly beagle, and they discovered that that beagle was looking for a secretary. This was right up Woodstockâ€™s alley. It turned out the dog, named Snoopy, was slightly batty, but he gave them shelter from the bitter colds of winter and was just as friendly as the jester remembered. He also understood Yellow Warbler. Woodstock got the job and they were fast friends.