Because of the introduction of the use of gunpowder. Aristotle, Pliny, and many other ancient writers, speak of the method of catching birds by means of hawking; but it is said, that falconry was practised with far more spirit anduniversality among the ancient
Britons, than in any other nation.
Because, in former times, and in many countries, the custom of carrying a falcon about was esteemed a mark of a man of rank : many persons of distinction were painted with a hawk on the hand.
Because a race of falconers was there born and bred, whence supplies have been drawn for the service of all
Europe; but as there has been no sufficient inducement for the young men to follow the employment of their forefathers, numbers are dead, or worn out; and there only remains John Pells, now in the service of John Dawson Downes, Esq. of Old Ginton Hill, Suffolk - Sir John Sebright, 1827.
Because it is the largest hawk that is known, and is great power and the most tractable disposition. The
-falcon is less than the Icelander, but much larger slight falcon. These powerful birds are flown at herons and hares, and are the only hawks that are fully a match for the fork-tailed kite. The merlin and hobby are both small hawks, and fit only for small birds, as the blackbird, etc. The sparrow hawk may be also trained to hunt; his flight is rapid for a short distance; he kills partridges well in the early season, and is the best of all for land-rails. - Sir John Sebright.
Because its skull is elevated : it is, however, without a proportionate volume of brain.
Linnaeus, with many other naturalists and antiquaries, have supposed that the horned owl was the bird of Minerva. Blumenbach has, however, shown, from the ancient works of Grecian art, that it was not this, but rather some smooth-headed species, probably, the passerina, or little owl.
Because the young of the brown-owl are not so easily raised, as they want a constant supply of fresh mice; whereas, the young of the barn-owl will eat indiscriminately all that is brought: snails, rats, kittens, puppies, and any kind of carrion or offal. - G. White.
Because a young owl has been found to feed well and thrive upon fish. Cats too, it is well known, like fish, and Dr. Darwin relates an anecdote of a cat taking fish in a mill-pool. Both the cat and the owl too feed upon mice. The sight of owls also, similar to that of cats, appears to serve them best in the dark. (See page 29.)