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single leap. On whatever side the reptile endeavored to make his escape, his enemy still appeared before him. Then, uniting at once both bravery and cunning, the serpent boldly erected himself to intimidate the Bird, and, hissing dreadfully, displayed his menacing throat, inflamed eyes, and a head swollen with rage and venom “ Sometimes this threatening appearance produced a momentary sus. pension of hostilities; but the Bird soon returned to the charge, and covering her body with one of her wings as a buckler, struck her enemy with the bony protuberance of the other. I saw him at last stagger and fall: the conqueror then fell upon him to dispatch him, and, with one stroke of her beak, laid open his skull.”
At this instant M. Le Vaillant fired at and killed the bird. In her craw he found, on dissection, eleven tolerably large Lizzards; three Serpents, each as long as his arm; eleven small Tortoises, most of which were about two inches in diameter; and a number of Locusts and other insects, several of them sufficiently whole to be worth presering and adding to his collection. He observed, too, that, in addition to this mass of food, the craw contained a sort of ball, as large as the head of a Goose, formed of the vertebræ of Serpents and Lizards; shells of Tortoises ; and wings, claws, and shields, of different kinds of Beetles. Dr. Solander says, that he has seen one of these birds take
a Snake, a small Tortoise, or other reptile, in its claw, and dash it with so much violence against the ground, that the creature immediately died; if, however, this did not happen to be the case, he tells us that the operation was repeated till the victim was killed ; after which it was eaten.
The Secretary is easily tamed; and when domesticated, will eat any kind of food, either dressed or raw. If well fed, it not only lives with poultry on amicable terms, but, when it sees any of them quarrelling, it will even run to part the combatants and restore order. This bird, it is true, if pinched with hunger, will devour, without scruple, the ducklings and chickens; but this abuse of confidence, if it may be so called, is the effect of severe hunger, and the pure and simple exercise of that necessity which rigorously devotes one half of the living creation to satisfy the appetite of the rest.
Tame Secretaries were seen by M. Le Vaillant in several of the plantations of the Cape. He says that they commonly lay two or three white eggs, nearly as large as those of a goose. The young. ones remain a great while in the nest; because, from their legs being long and slender, they cannot easily support themselves.
However shrewd and cunning this bird may be in its general conduct, yet M. de Buffon seems to have attributed to it a much greater degree of intelligence than it really possesses :"When a painter (says he, quoting a letter of the viscount de Querhoent) was employed in drawing one of the Secretary Falcons, it approached him, looked attentively upon his paper, stretched out its neck, and erected the feathers of its head, as if admiring its own figure. It often came with its wings raised, and its head projected, to observe what he was doing. It also thus approached me two or three times, when I was sitting at a table, in its hut, in order to describe it.” This stretching out of its
THE WASHINGTON EAGLE.
head, and erection of its crest, seem, however, to have arisen from nothing more than that love which almost all domesticated birds evince of having their heads scratched. And these birds, when rendered familiar, are well known tự approach every person who comes near them, and to stretch out their necks by way of making known this desire.
This singular bird has not long been known, even at the Cape: but, when we consider its sociable and familiar disposition, we are disposed to think that it would be advisable to multiply the species, particularly in our colonies; for it is hardy enough to endure even European climates, where it might be serviceable in destroying not only pernicious reptiles, but Rats and Mice.
The Secretary Falcons make, with twigs, a flat nest, full three feet in diameter, and line it with wool and feathers. This is usually formed in some high tuft of trees; and is often so well concealed, as not easily to be discovered even by the most scrutinizing eye. It is a very singular circumstance, that in their contests these birds always strike forward with their legs; and not, like all others, backward.
THE WASHINGTON EAGLE.
The Washington Eagle, says Nuttall, bold and vigorous, disdains the piratical habits of the Bald Eagle, and invariably obtains his own
sustenance without molesting the Osprey. The circles he describes in his flight are wider than those of the White-headed Eagle; he also flies nearer to the land or the surface of the water; and when about to dive for his prey, he descends in circuitous, spiral rounds, as if to check the retreat of the fish, on which he darts only when within the distance of a few yards. When his prey is obtained, he flies out at a low elevation to a considerable distance to enjoy his repast at leasure. The quantity of food consumed by this enormous bird is very great, according to the account of those who have had them in confinement. Mr. Audubon's male bird weighed fourteen and a half pounds avoirdupois.
THE BIRD OE WASHINGTON.
THE BEARDED EAGLE, OR LAMMER-GEYER.
The beak is of a purplish flesh-color, and hooked only at the point; the head and neck are covered with feathers. Beneath the throat hangs a kind of beard, composed of very narrow feathers, like hairs. The legs are covered with feathers quite to the toes, which are yellow: the claws are black. The body is blackish-brown above; and the under parts are white, with a tinge of brown.
The Bearded Eagles, of which so many fabulous tales have been related, are inhabitants of the highest parts of the great chain of the Alps that separates Switzerland from Italy, They are frequently seen of immense size. One that was caught in the canton of Glarus, measured from the tip of its beak to the extremity of its tail, nearly seven feet, and eight feet and a half from tip to tip of its wings; but some have been shot that were much larger.
These birds form their nests in the clefts of rocks, inaccessible to man; and usually produce three or four young ones at a time. They subsist on alpine animals, such as Chamois, white Hares, Marmots, Kids, and particularly Lambs. It is from their devouring the latter, that they are called, by the Swiss peasants, Lammer-geyer, or Lamb. Vultures.* The Bearded Eagles seldom appear except in small par. ties, usually consisting of the two old birds and their young ones.
If common report may be credited, this rapacious bird does not confine its assaults to the brute creation, but sometimes attacks and succeeds in carrying off young children. Gesner, on the authority of Fabricius, says, respecting it, that some peasants between Meissen and Brisa, in Germany, losing every day some of their cattle, which they sought for in the forests in vain, observed by chance a very large nest resting on three oaks, constructed with sticks and branches of trees, and as wide as the body of a cart. They found in this nest three young birds, already so large that their wings extended seven ells. Their legs were as thick as those of a Lion; and their claws the size of a man's fingers. In the nest were found several skins of Calves
It appears to have been from one of the two varieties of this bird that are sometimes seen in Persia and other eastern countries, rather than the Condor, as is generally supposed, that the fabulous stories of the Roc of the Arabian Tales originated; since the latter is confined to the wild districts of South America, and has never been ascertained to have visited the old continent.
One of these varieties also it is that Mr. Bruce describes as having * It is, however, to be remarked that the Swiss do not confine the appellation of Lammer-geyer to this species, but sometimes extend it to other large birds of prey
THE BEARDED EAGLE.
seen on the highest part of the mountain of Lamalmon, not far from Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia. He says, that on account of the tuft of hair growing beneath its beak, the inhabitants call it Abou Duch'n, or Father Long beard. Mr. Bruce supposed it to be not only one of the largest of the Eagle kind, but one of the largest birds in the creation. From wing to wing it measured eight feet four inches; and from the tip of its tail to the point of its beak, when dead, four feet seven inches. It weighed twenty-two pounds, and was very full of flesh. Its legs were short, but the thighs extremely muscular. Its eyes were remarkably small, the aperture being scarcely balf an inch across. The crown of the head was bald, as was also the front, where the bill and skull joined.
"This noble bird (says this celebrated traveller) was not an object of any chase or pursuit, nor stood in need of any stratagem to bring him within our reach. Upon the highest top of the mountain Lamal. mon, while my servants were refreshing themselves from that toilsome, rugged ascent, and enjoying the pleasures of a most delightful climate eating their dinner in the outer air, with several large dishes of boiled goat's flesh before them, this enemy, as he turned out to be to them suddenly appeared; he did not stoop rapidly from a height, but came flying slowly along the ground, and sat down close to the meat, within the ring the men had made round it. A great shout, or rather cry of distress, called me to the place. I saw the Eagle stand for a mipute, as if to recollect himself; while the servants ran for their lances and shields. I walked up as nearly to him as I had time to do. His attention was fixed upon the flesh. I saw him put his foot into the pan, where there was a large piece, in water, prepared for boiling; but finding the smart, which he had not expected, he withdrew it, and forsook the piece that he held.
“ There were two large pieces, a leg and a shoulder, lying upon a wooden platter: into these he thrust both his claws, and carried thern off; but I thought he still looked wistfully at the large piece which remained in the
warm water. Away he went slowly along the ground, as he had come. The face of the cliff over which criminals are thrown, took him from our sight. The Mahometans that drove the Asses, were much alarmed, and assured me of his return. My servants, on the other hand, very unwillingly expected him, and thought he had already taken more than his share.
" As I had myself a desire of more intimate acquaintance with this Bird, I loaded a rifle.gun with ball, and sat down close to the platter by the meat. It was not many minutes before he came, and a prodigious shout was raised by my attendants
, 'He is coming, he is coming,' enough to have dismayed a less courageous animal. , Whether he was not quite so hungry as at his first visit, or suspected something from my appearance, I know not; but he made a short turn, and sat down about ten yards from me, the pan with the meat being between me and him. As the field was clear before me, and I did not know but his next move might bring him opposite to some of my people, so that he might actually get the rest of the meat and make off, I shot him with the ball through the middle of his body, about two inches below the wing, so that he lay down upon the grass without a single flutter.
"Upon laying hold of his monstrous carcass, I was not a little surprised at seeing my hands covered and tinged with yellow powder or dust. On turning him upon his belly, and examining the feathers of his back, they also produced a dust, the color of the feathers there. This dust was not in small quantites; for, upon striking the breast, the yellow powder flew in full greater quantity than from a hairdresser's powder puff
. The feathers of the belly and breast which were of a gold color, did not appear to have any thing extraordinary in their formation ; but the large feathers in the shoulder and wings seemed apparently to be fine tubes, which, upon pressure, scattered this dust upon the finer part of the feather; but this was brown, the color of the feathers of the back. Upon the side of the wing, the ribs, or hard part of the feathers, seemed to be bare, as if worn; or, I rather think, were renewing themselves, having before failed in their functions.
"What is the reason of this extraordinary provision of nature, it is not in my power to determine. As it is an unusual one, it is probably meant for a defence against the climate, in favor of birds which live in those almost inaccessible heights of a country doomed, even in its lowest parts, to several month's excessive rain."
THE IMPERIAL EAGLE,
This is the largest species of Eagle known, measuring three feet and a half from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail; and to it may be referred all the accounts of the ancients respecting the strength, courage, and magnanimity of these birds. Its color above is rufous gray, barred with black, the black prevailing most on the wings; the head is strongly crested with long gray feathers, the two middle ones being five inches long; the tail is gray, barred and spotted with black, and tipped with rufous: the under parts of the bird are pale cinereous, very soft and downy; the beak and cere black; the feet and legs yel low. It is a native of South America, inhabiting the deep recesses of the forest; and has the reputation of being extremely bold and ferocious.
THE HARPY EAGLE.
It has been correctly observed by Mr. Selby, that the members of the aquiline division of the Raptorial order do not possess the same facility of pursuing their prey upon the wing which we see in the Falcons and Hawks; for though their flight is very powerful, they are not capable of the rapid evolutions that attend the aerial attacks of the above-named groups, in consequence of which their prey is mostly pounced upon the ground. The shortness of the wings of the Harpy Eagle, when compared with those of the Golden Eagle of Europe, and their rounded form and breadth, though well adapting them for a continued steady flight, render them less efficient as organs