Around 1955, toward the end of his sculpture studies with Karl Hartung in Berlin, Günter Grass explores the motif of birds in depth. In The Advantages of Windfowl (1956), his literary debut volume of poetry and prose, chickens and birds symbolize the human mind and stand as metaphor for creativity. Already his early sculptures of birds are slim, anthropomorphic creatures. Slender and delicate, the cursorial birds suggest the potential of rising into the air at any time, but nevertheless, they keep to the ground, down-to-earth. The motif of hens, geese, swans, or metamorphisms between humans and animals – so-called bird-women – reappear time and again in various media and techniques of Grass's works. He forms them in literature and drawings as well as in terra-cotta reliefs and three-dimensional reliefs.