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One of the more unusual inhabitants of the area the snow-unicorn riders live in is the ice-wren. a tiny white bird with bluish wings and tail. It is one of the primary insectivores of the area. Ice-wrens sing beautiful but eerie songs, and killing one is considered very unlucky.
The ice-wren has a unique method of surviving the winter. The bird enters a state similar to hibernation when the ambient temperature drops substantially below freezing, and can actually freeze solid for the whole winter, then revive in the spring.
As the days grow longer and the trees grow leafy, the birds abandon their thorny winter nests to make new, softer nests in the trees. They mate and lay eggs, three to four per nest. The parents feed the largest chick until it is sated before feeding the next. In this way they ensure that at least one chick is likely to survive the summer, as food can be scarce.
When the days grow short again, the birds start to build nests out of thorn bushes, in places that are will keep them out of reach of predators and protected from the sun, for instance in the center of dense thorn thickets or in deep crevasses in high, rocky outcrops.
Ice-wrens eat just about any tiny creature, from mosquitoes to glacier worms to newborn yiirk. They also eat seeds and the tender shoots of new leaves, but for the most part will pass up plant matter when insects are available.
As mentioned before, killing one is considered very unlucky. The histories caution against eating them except to ward off starvation. They are not poisonous, however, their flesh tastes very strange, people can have trouble digesting the meat, and allergic reactions can be severe.
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Animals of the North: An overview of the animals found in (or near) the territory of the snow-unicorn riders.