Study Guide

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Birds

By Ransom Riggs


For the Birds

According to Dad, peregrine falcons are "the fastest birds on earth. They're like shape-shifters, the way they streamline their bodies in the air" (4.148). He doesn't realize how true this is when he says it, of course. But as it turns out, Miss Peregrine is a shape-shifter, and she can shift into… wait for it… a peregrine falcon.

Not only is this cool, but it gives her the additional power of being able to control time. According to her, this is something all birds can do: "Most [birds] slip back and forth only occasionally, by accident. We who can manipulate time fields consciously—and not only for ourselves, but for others—are known as ymbrynes" (6.104). Fittingly, there's a bird motif throughout, with the names of all the ymbrynes: Miss Finch, Miss Avocet, Miss Bunting, Miss Nightjar, Miss Thrush, and Miss Crow. This is the kind of bird watching that we thought would only exist in Jacob's ornithologist father's wildest dreams.

Which brings us to another point about the birds: Insofar as Miss Peregrine is connected to Jacob coming into his own, birds represent a bit of tension in the book. While Jacob starts to soar, his dad is left floundering, too bummed out by another ornithologist's fancy binoculars to continue his own ornithological work. It's behavior that's for the birds.

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