And as a reward for all your wonderful votes and input, I've done a concept sketch (which took forever and totally reminded me why I stopped being an art major!). It's not perfect, and the silver paint scanned kinda dull and gray, but it's as close as my limited artistic skills could create.
Now, I realize some of you have some very strong opinions on this (you know who you are, and I love you for it) so let me just say a few things.
First of all, in case there was any confusion, this creature is not actually a character in my book. It's something I'm going to use as a metaphor for the main character, which is a twelve year old girl who has to leave behind everything she's ever known and start over on her own in a new world. It may even be her nickname at times. But it's not her name, and it's not something that's going to have a major role in any of the plots or scenes.
Also, I never said that whichever name wins will be the one I use. I still have to put it in the draft and live with it for a few weeks before I'll know if I like it. And if I don't, it gets changed. In fact, it's totally possible I'll come up with something new and end up using that.
So why did I put you all through this, then?
Because I wanted your input. I wanted to hear your thoughts and reactions to the names available, because I knew they'd be very different from my own. And you know what? I learned a lot!
For instance, my favorite was Mooncatcher. I don't know why...I just liked it. But when I put it in the draft it didn't feel right (which was what sparked the idea for this poll in the first place). And thanks to your input I think I know why now. Someone pointed out that when they hear the names with "catcher" in them it makes them think of a Dream Catcher. And since a dream catcher has nothing to do with a bird, they didn't think it worked. And I think they're right. So thank you for helping me understand that.
I think it's also funny that none of you voted for Orphanary. That's the only name on the list that I didn't invent. This bird is based very loosely off a mythical bird from medieval bestiaries called the Orphanary. But I just didn't think that sounded right, and since I'd changed the bird so much to fit my story I figured it would be okay to change the name too. But I threw it on the list just to see if I was wrong. And apparently you all agree with me. So yay!
I was also surprised so many of you liked the names with "crier" in them, because those were honestly some of my least favorites. I didn't like how weak and sad they sounded. My main character is strong and brave, and even though she has to deal with a lot of difficult things (things that would make me want to sit back and cry) she never gives up. So I don't see her as a "crier."And I guess you guys don't either because those names didn't win after all.
And then there was Moonwing (which has some very outspoken supporters behind it). I like it. I do. The only thing I wasn't sure about was that it made me think of Darkwing Duck--which really isn't the kind of association I want to make. And then someone else pointed out that in the Batman comics, Robin becomes a hero called Nightwing when he grows up, so when they hear Moonwing it makes them think of a superhero. Which is better than thinking of Darkwing Duck...but still not quite the connection I want to make. And for that reason I chose to leave it off the final poll, even though it had only one vote less than the others.
Which leaves us with the larks. You chose Moonlark over Lunelark, which again, surprised me. Lune is the french word for moon, so I thought it might sound more...mysterious...but maybe you didn't get that. Or maybe Moonlark just sounds better. Or maybe you just clicked a button because I asked you to and you don't really care. But for whatever reason, Moonlark won. And I'm going to try using it because that was honestly one of my favorites.
I liked that "lark" sounds immediately like a bird. Yes, larks aren't quite as majestic as this bird is...but that doesn't necessarily bother me. If anything, I kind of like that it makes you expect one thing and then surprises you when you get so much more. And I like that the word lark has other meanings. It can mean "to have fun or frolic," it can mean "to create mischief," and it can mean "a game." Not sure what/if I would use any of that for, but I like having it as an option.
So for now I'm going to fill those blank spaces in my draft with "Moonlark," and see how it feels. It may sit wrong and I may be going back to the drawing board. But it may just work. Only time will really tell. And I promise I'll let you know if I change it.
Thank you again for all your opinions and input. This worked out really well, so I may be doing this again with a few other things I'm having trouble naming. And feel free to let me know what you think of the results.