[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS a rapacious bird, of the long-winged hawk kind, and the most common of all in England. He is of a sluggish indolent nature, often remaining perched on the same bough for the greatest part of the day, as if indifferent either to the allurements of food or of pleasure. He was doomed, as some of the human species, to pass his allotted span of life in passive contemplation. He feeds on mice, rabbits, frogs, and often on all sorts of carrion. Too idle to build himself a nest, he generally seizes upon the old habitation of a crow, which he lines afresh with wool and other soft materials. It is said, that the male, feeling a noble passion for the preservation of his young, will often rear them if the female happens to be killed. In general this bird, whose colour varies considerably, is brown, varied with yellow specks; at a certain age his head becomes entirely grey. The female generally lays two or three eggs, which are mostly white, though sometimes spotted with yellow. The common length of this bird is twenty-two inches, and his breadth upwards of fifty.