The honker was a large flightless bird native to Atlantis. They were the dominant herbivore, and the natural prey of the red-crested eagle. When humans arrived on Atlantis, the honker was easy prey, as they had never seen people before, and did not perceive them as a threat. The black markings on the head and the white patch under the chin, the vestigial webbing between their toes along with the eponymous sounds they made, all testified to their affinity to the Canada goose.
The first humans known to have seen the honker were François Kersauzon and his crew of fishermen in 1452. They killed a few, and took the carcasses to Brittany, where they shared their feast with English fisherman Edward Radcliffe. Kersauzon brought Radcliff's ship to Atlantis, and the Englishmen both heard the honkers' peculiar noises, and saw for themselves the ease with which the honker could be killed.
After Radcliffe began settling Atlantis, it was discovered that while the honker was not very intelligent, it could still be lethal if provoked. One Rob Drinkwater was killed when his initial attack on a honker was not fatal. The honker lashed out with its powerful leg, kicking Drinkwater in the chest and killing him.
As human settlement increased in Atlantis, the population of honkers decreased. By the 17th century, the honkers had vanished from the areas surrounding the settlements. A century later, that population had begun retreating into the interior, as people had wiped out all the honkers near settlements. Vague notions of conservation were floated about the time of the Atlantean War of Independence, but no concrete action was taken.
In 1843, John James Audubon traveled to Atlantis in the hopes of cataloging the bird before it vanished. He succeeded in finding a herd deep within the interior. Much like their ancestors, this honker population had never encountered humans, and so knew no fear of Audubon. Audubon ironically killed one in order to sketch it.
Efforts were made by the Atlantean government to protect the remaining honkers. However, the built-in inefficiency of the government helped insure that no substantial measures were taken.
By the end of the 19th century, the honker was believed to be completely extinct, although, given the wilds of Atlantis, many held out hope that honkers still inhabited the island.
There were several species of honkers, varying over the regions of the continent from the Great Honkers of the eastern coast to the Agile Honkers of the mountainous interior.
- See e.g.: Atlantis and Other Places, pg. 23, HC.
- Ibid., pg. 19.
- Ibid., pg. 33.
- Ibid., pg. 58.
- Ibid., pg. 61.
- Ibid., pg. 33.
- Ibid., pgs. 62-66.
- Ibid., pg. 386.
- Ibid., pg. 63.