The paper analyses more than 2000 avian remains from four sites that played a crucial role in the formation of the Polish State in the early Middle Ages: a stronghold and suburbium (extra-mural settlement) at Ostrów Lednicki, a settlement at Dziekanowice and a stronghold at Grzybowo. At least 25 taxa were found at all the sites. The domestic chicken clearly dominates among all the avian remains, followed by geese of the genus Anser. Other taxa, recorded in smaller numbers, indicate a mosaic of aquatic, woodland and open habitats. The relatively high percentage of immature domestic chicken (28–38%) suggests that it was kept both for meat and eggs. Hawking at Ostrów Lednicki can be indirectly inferred from the presence of remains of female goshawks and their possible prey. Remains of the peacock, capercaillie and black grouse support the high status of the sites. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.