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This story was narrated by Marshal Terryan, a friend of mine, and is into paper industry.

Last weekend, while he visited the local forest for checking out how things are going, he was amazed by a view. A view which moved him. A number of birds mostly, The Orchards, The Zebra Finch and The Tawny Pipit , gathered on a tree which was being destroyed. He stopped the workers and took a picture of the view. It was a rare view with these species all on a same tree.

When I saw that picture, I was amazed and wanted to share it here. I now believe, birds do have a lot of brains! :-)

I don't have a photo of that, but I got the information. Here's how it looked. I have named the birds as X, Y, Z (X for the Zebra Finch, Y for the Orchards and Z for the Tawny Pipit)

                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                *-* *-* *-*             *-* *-*     *-*                             
                            *-* Z           *-* X   *-*     *-* *-* Y   *-*     *-* *-* 
                    *-* *-*             X       X       Y               *-* *-*         *-*
             *-*    Z                               Y                              Y        *-*
       *-*              X               Y                       Z                           *-*
    *-*                                                                                   *-* 
    *-*     Z                                       X                       Z               *-*
    *-*     Z                                   X                               X           *-*     
*-* *-*                     X               Y                       Z                           *-* 
*-*                 X                               Y                       Z               *-*     
*-*                             Z                       X           Y                           *-*
   *-*                                                                                        *-*
    *-*     Z                                  X                                    Y       *-* 
  *-* *-*                    X                              X              Y                   *-*
*-*                         Z                               Y               Y                  *-*
    *-*        X                            Y                                        Z      *-*     
        *-*                                                                                  *-*    
          *-*      Z                               Y                    X               *-*
            *-*         Z           *-* *-* X   *-* *-*         Y           *-* *-*   *-* *-*
              *     *-* *-*     *-*     *-*             *-*         *-*  *-*
            * * * *                     |           |           *-*                     
                                        |           |                   
                                        |           |   
                                        |           |   
                                        |           |   
                                        |           |   
                                        |           |   
                                        |           |   
                                        |           |   
                               -   -    |           |   
                            - -         |           |-  
          \/    -   -   -   \/          |           |   -\/ -   -   -   \/                  \/
                                        -   -                                                   -       -   -               


Can you tell me what message do the birds convey?

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Aah, those * - * look like tiny eyes... $\endgroup$ – ABcDexter Mar 21 '17 at 14:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is really clever! Very impressed $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Mar 21 '17 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Glad you liked it. :-) $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Mar 21 '17 at 16:47
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The birds in the tree spell out the message:

Save trees! Save us!

How so?

On each row of the three, there are either exactly three birds or no birds. From top to bottom, the pattern is:

ZXY XXY ZYY XYZ / ZXZ ZXX XYZ XYZ ZXY / ZXY XXY ZYY XYZ / ZYX ZXY

Now this looks suspiciously like a base-tree, er, three representation of the alphabet with 26 letters plus one special character. Replace X with the digit 0, Y with 1 and Z with 2:

201 001 211 012 / 202 200 012 012 201 / 201 001 211 012 / 210 201

Then read as base three-numbers (ABC = A×9 + B×3 + C) and pick the corresponding letter of the alphabet, where A is 1 and Z is 26.

What a pity that the tree fellers don't understand base-three encoding. A well-aimed discharge of droppings might have worked better. :(

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh, you just skipped through all the hints and nailed it :) Anyway, to put up the clues -> Marshal(Arrange) Terryan -> Ternary. Initials of bird names are Z(Zero), O(One), T(Two). I should have made X = 1/Y=2/Z=0 something like that. Anyway, thanks for solving and congrats! $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Mar 21 '17 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for skipping the hints. As soon as I saw that there were three birds on each line, I tried ternary and just used the first mapping that occurred to me. And if that hadn't succeeded, I'd have tried out the other five possibilities. (XYZ as 012 seems more natural to me than ZOT, I'm afraid.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Mar 21 '17 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah. I made it a little easier with that ;) $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Mar 21 '17 at 15:21
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I was confused why the Zebra Finch wouldn't be the Z. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Mar 21 '17 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidStarkey Sounds nice to know that it confused a few people atleast :-) $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Mar 22 '17 at 14:54

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