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3. At this well known call the male partly opens his broad wings, inclines his body a little downward, and answers to her voice in tones not unlike the laugh of a maniac. The next moment he resumes his erect attitude, and again all around is silent. Ducks of many species are seen passing with great rapidity, and following the course of the current; but the eagle heeds them not: they are at that time beneath his attention.
4. The next moment, however, the wild trumpet-like sound of a yet distant but approaching swan is heard. A shriek from the female eagle comes across the stream, for she is fully as alert3 as her mate. The latter suddenly shakes the whole of his body, and with a few touches of his bill arranges his plumage. The snow-white swan is now in sight; her long neck is stretched forward; her eye is on the watch, vigilant as that of her enemy; her large wings seem with difficulty to support the weight of her body, although they flap incessantly. She approaches, however. The eagle has marked her for his prey. As the swan is passing the dreaded pair, the male bird, with an awful scream, starts from his perch in full preparation for the chase.
5. Now is the moment to witness a display of the eagle's powers. He glides through the air like a falling star, and, like a flash of lightning, comes upon the timorous quarry,⭑ which now, in agony and despair, seeks, by various manœuvres, to elude the grasp of his cruel talons. It mounts, doubles, and willingly would plunge into the stream, were it not prevented by the eagle, which, knowing that the swan would thus escape him, forces it to remain in the air by attempting air to strike it with his talons from beneath.
6. The hope of escape is soon given up by the swan. It has already become much weakened, and its strength fails at the sight of the courage and swiftness of its antagonist. Its last gasp is about to escape, when the ferocious eagle strikes with his talons the under side of its wing, and, with unresisted power, forces the bird to fall in a slanting direction upon the land. There his mate joins him, when the royal pair turn the breast of the luckless swan upward, and gorge themselves with gore.
7. The eagle has great partiality for fish, and, in pursuing them, as he is not a fisher himself, he displays, in a very singular manner, the genius and energy of his character. Elevated on the high dead limb of some gigantic tree that commands a view of the neighboring shore and ocean, he seems calmly to contemplate the motions of the various feathered tribes that pursue their busy avocations below-the snowwhite gulls, slowly winnowing the air; trains of ducks streaming over the surface; silent and watchful cranes, intent and wading; clamorous crows, and all the winged multitudes that subsist by the bounty of this vast liquid magazine of Nature.
8. High over all these hovers one whose action instantly arrests his whole attention. By his wide curvature of wing and sudden suspension in air, the eagle knows him to be the osprey, or fish-hawk, settling over some devoted victim of the deep. His eye kindles at the sight, and, balancing himself, with half-opened wings, he watches the result. Down, rapid as an arrow from heaven, descends the distant object of his attention, the roar of its wings reaching the ear as it disappears in the deep, making the surges foam around.
9. At this moment the eager looks of the eagle are all ardor; and, leveling his neck for flight, he sees the fish-hawk emerge, struggling with his prey, and mounting in the air with screams of exultation. These are the signal for our hero, who, launching into the air, instantly gives chase, and soon gains on the fish-hawk; each exerts his utmost to mount above the other, displaying in these manœuvres the most elegant and sublime aerial' evolutions. 8
10. The unencumbered eagle rapidly advances, and is just on the point of reaching his opponent, when, with a sudden scream, probably of despair and execration, the latter drops his fish; the eagle, poising himself for a moment, as if to take a more certain aim, descends like a whirlwind, snatches it in his grasp ere it reaches the water, and bears his ill-gotten booty silently away to the woods. AUDUBON AND WILSON.
1 EM-BLA'-ZONED, out pompously.
adorned with figures; set 5 Av-o-CA'-TION, business; employment. 6 IN-TENT', ardent; eager.
7A-E-RI-AL, pertaining to the air; lofty.
8 EV-O-LU'-TIONS, movements.
2 EX-PANSE', extent of space.
3 A-LERT', watchful; vigilant.
4 QUR'-RY, the game.
THE OSPREY, OR SEA EAGLE.
1. Soon as the sun, great ruler of the year,
With broad, unmoving wing. Now, circling slow,
Of the blue lake; and all the winged kind
THE AMERICAN EAGLE.
1. BIRD of the heavens! whose matchless eye
Whose ample wing was made to rise
2. What ranger of the winds can dare,
When thou hast taken thy seat alone,
3. Bird of the sun! to thee
The monarch mount his gorgeous throne;
That half impedes his glorious way;
E'en what he is-the king of day!
4. Bird of Columbia! well art thou
5. Like thee, majestic bird! like thee
1 RA'-DI-ANT, beaming with brightness. 2 GAU'-DI-ER, more showy.
C. W. THOMPSON.
13 UN-BLENCHED', unstained; unshrinking QUAIL, shrink back.