"It was a giant bird, as tall as the trees, with a snowy white chest, neck and head, and black wings.... Its fixed, glassy eyes looked as if they had been painted on to its head. Its neck was like a smooth, white snake. Its orange beak was like a sword."
— Dragon's Nest
Lief, Barda, and Jasmine ate the Sleeper Fruit on their way to Dragon's Nest. Lief had consumed some of the skin, and so was partially awake to witness the bird's arrival. Kree and Filli attacked it when it tried to kill Jasmine, and Lief helped them as best he could. The bird was finally driven off by Lindal of Broome, who had been tracking the companions.
Orchard Keepers get their name from their unusual hunting tactics. They tend to large orchards of Sleeper Trees, which they use to entice travelers. Once a victim has eaten the flesh of the fruit, they fall into a deep sleep and are eaten by the bird.
Orchard Keepers use the bones of their victim to build pathways to lure in more unsuspecting visitors. Because the birds are used to eating prey that has fallen asleep, they are slow, deliberate creatures that are not prone to sharp or quick movement. The people of Broome believe killing an Orchard Keeper brings bad luck.
It is unknown what Orchard Keepers eat when there are no humans to feed off their fruit, as Filli and Kree were both unaffected by the fruit for they did not mind the bitter skin.
Orchard Keepers have glassy eyes and long, orange legs with webbed feet. Their bodies are covered with white feathers, except for their wings, which are black. Orchard Keepers have long, spear-like orange beaks.
Orchard Keepers are found only in Sleeper Tree orchards in End Wood in the Forests of Silence, located in Ruby territory.
In Dragon's Nest, Lindal claims it is bad luck, they say, to kill an Orchard Keeper.