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"Eyes?" I asked.
"The eyes I like are hawks'!" John said. "Fierce, yellow."
"Yes, but you wouldn't want to see a hawk's eyes in a swift," Victor said.
"I think we need a sort of limpid eye," I suggested.
"What's wrong with the swift's eye?" Victor asked. "When you talk about perfection, one of the beautiful things in nature is symmetry...the proper eye for the proper bird. To have a large eye like a hawk's would absolutely destroy the symmetry of a swift...it would be this big eye sailing by."
Rowlett agreed, but he felt that something could be done about the bird's eye—the swift's was simply a black bead. "Perhaps we could enlarge his eye, if only slightly. The veery has a nice black eye."
"Yes," Victor acknowledged. "Give him the veery's. Of course, with all that iridescence and the speed of the swift going by, it's not going to mean much. A delicate touch, though."
I asked about his bill. I mentioned that I had always been taken with the appearance and conformity of the avocet's bill...a long, thin bill with a distinctive and jaunty upturn at the end.
"It's a beautiful bill...for an avocet," Victor said. "But that's a shorebird's bill. You can't put it on a swift. The combination would make it look like a guided missile in the sky."
"I agree," John said. "We'd better leave the swift with his own bill or we're going to have trouble. Let's spruce him up in other ways. What about some pufflets around the legs, like a puff-leg hummingbird's?"