Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis
Abandoned by her mother and placed in foster care, eleven-year-old December Lee Morgan has developed her own survival strategy. Convinced that she is a bird and that the scar on her back conceals a magnificent pair of wings waiting to unfurl, she spends countless hours high up in trees, jumping off in preparation for the time when she can fly. She restricts her diet to foods that birds might consume, chiefly sunflower seeds.
This makes her a problematic placement. Moving from one family to another, she is eventually placed in the home of Eleanor, who works at an animal rehabilitation center. In her spare time, she enjoys taxidermy. Upon learning this, December is horrified and speculates that this Bird Girl will be the next specimen to be killed and stuffed.
December absconds with one of Eleanor's projects: a stuffed owl. She decides to carry the owl with her in her backpack.
Then there is the problem of Bird Girl sneaking off, climbing trees, and attempting to fly from the topmost branches. Alone. After dark.
December's developing relationships with her foster parent and a potential friend have several missteps. It is difficult for this girl to cast off her protective shell and trust anyone. Eleanor, Cheryllynn, and December each have deep-seated emotional wounds. They become the source of rescue and rehabilitation for one another.
But what do dreams know of boundaries?” Amelia Earhart