The Conclave was a special meeting of the Great Council called every ten years. It was attended by the delegates, or the sons of the old delegates, and it was there that birds were added or expelled.

Only the largest and hardiest birds were represented, and only those native to the area. Thus, the great ostriches and emus were not represented, though the Council did seek their advice on occasion. At this meeting, the Council consisted of an owl, a crow, a hawk, a vulture, a gull, a heron, and a goose. Smaller birds were assigned a Council member; the sparrows were represented by the crow and the ducks by the goose, for example.

At this Conclave, a motion was introduced through the crow to expel the hawk from the council. The reasoning was that, since the hawk tended to eat its fellow birds, it exercised undue influence and could not be controlled.

The hawk natrually protested that this was a transparent attempt by its prey to avoid predation and undermine the natural order. The owl agreed, noting that it too often took other birds as meals, though not with the frequency of hawks. Fearing that its omnivorous habits would be impinged, the gull joined them.

However, the crow was in favor despite its own wide-ranging diet, and the goose and heron concurred. As they ate mostly non-birds, they saw nothing wrong with the hawk’s demotion and argued that it could be ably represented by the owl.

This left only the vulture, who had long held a reputation as a crafty negotiator. Weighing the alternatives, he declared that he did not care one way or the other, since birds who died of natural causes were his only avian prey. He therefore, instead, declared that he would vote for whoever offered him the finest gift.

The others insisted that this was quite unprecedented, but the vulture would not relent. It was his nature to seek profit where he could, he argued, and this was no exception.

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