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and grouse, wherever it can find them. The female produces from four to six young ones, which at first are naked, but are soon covered with very tender prickles, gradually growing into spines, with which the old ones are defended.
THE EAGLE (Aquila chrysaëtos) Is so rare that it will be scarcely desirable to describe its appearance or habits.
THE KITE (Milvus regalis), Commonly known in some districts as the Glead or Gled. This bird is now becoming very rare in consequence of the war waged against it by keepers, from its tendency to destroy game of all kinds. It may be readily known when on the wing by its forked tail, like that of the swallow, in which it differs from all of its congeners in this country. Every now and then, when in the air, after making a large circle in search of its prey, it will remain stationary, with its wings and tail expanded, and without any of the quivering which is perceptible in the windhover. 'In England the kite is only met with now in extensive wooded districts, especially those which are not strictly preserved. The annexed figure accurately represents the appearance of this bird when at rest, except in colour, which is as follows:-Beak horn colour; cere and iris yellow; feathers of the head and neck greyish white, streaked with ash brown; feathers of the back and wing coverts edged with reddish brown round a darker centre; primaries black; upper tail coverts reddish brown; feathers of the tail the same, the inner webs being barred with dark brown, and the under surface greyish white; chin, throat, and poll greyish white streaked with pale brown; breast and belly pale reddish brown, each feather having a longitudinal streak of brown; under tail coverts of a uniform rufous white; tarsi and toes yellow; claws black. The females are somewhat larger than the males (the length being respectively twenty-six and twenty-four inches); but the plumage is nearly the same, the heads of the former being somewhat more grey, and the under surface of the body more:
decidedly red. The nest is formed of sticks like those of the carrion crow, and lined with feathers, wool, hair, &c. It is usually made early in the spring, the deepest recesses of a large wood, and the fork of a high tree being chosen. The female lays two or three eggs, of a slightly oval form, the long diameter being, as in all the birds of prey, little greater than the short; they measure two inches and two lines by one inch nine lines, are of a dirty white colour, marked on the larger end with a few reddish brown spots.
In its mode of taking its prey the kite resembles the kestrel, not striking it in the air but pouncing on it while on the ground, and in this way being very formidable to ground birds and leverets.
Of the cunning of the kite Mr. Colquhoun gives a remarkable instance. He says, “ Kites generally build in the fir forests on the hills, and select a tree with a thin bare stem, often very difficult to climb. I once concealed myself at the foot of a tree where a kite was sitting, in order to shoot it on its return to the nest; for they generally fly off at the most distant approach of an enemy. I was perfectly hid, and after waiting nearly an hour, had an opportunity of witnessing the tact and cunning of the bird. The sun was shining warm upon the nest, or it would most likely not have kept me so long; at last I saw it flying round in very wide circles, which gradually narrowed; it then alighted upon a distant tree, and peering round in every direction chose a nearer, and so on until it came within three or four trees of the nest. It was now within shot; but I had, unfortunately, so placed myself as only to command the nest tree, never doubting that it would alight on this before it settled on the nest. But I was out in my reckoning; as soon as it had tolerably reassured itself, it rose perpendicularly in the air and came down upon its nest like a stone. The manner in which I was concealed prevented my getting a flying shot; so nothing remained but to fire through the nest, which proved a sufficient defence, as the kite flew away and never returned.” It will from this be gathered that it is by no means easy to get a shot at the kite, and that the keeper must rely upon the trap to get rid of it.