The Bearded Griffin is the largest European bird of prey, and builds its aiery among the loftiest precipices of nearly all the alpine chains of the Old Continent. Here it displays the tyranny, but not the courage, of the Eagle, attacking such living animals only as are likely to fall an easy prey, and gorging in troops with all the rapacity of Vultures upon the most corrupted carrion.
The individual figured at the head of the present article is a female; a fact which was proved by the remarkable circumstance of her producing in May last, after having been more than two years in the Menagerie, a cluster of eggs, fourteen or fifteen in number, none of which, however, were hatched, although the mother evinced the greatest anxiety for their preservation, coiling herself around them in the form of a cone, of which her head formed the summit, and guarding them from external injury with truly maternal solicitude. They were visible only when she was occasionally roused; in which case she raised her head, which formed as it were the cover of the receptacle in which they were enclosed, but replaced it again as quickly as possible, allowing to the spectator only a momentary glance at her cherished treasures.
The subject of the present article, which, like all the rest of the minor group of which he forms a part, is a native of India and of the Indian Islands, was a present to his Majesty, who kept him for some time, in company with another of the same species, at large in the great park at Windsor. As both, however, happened to be males, they disagreed so violently, and their quarrels at length rose to such a pitch, that in order to preserve peace it was found absolutely necessary to separate them; and our animal, as the most outrageous of the two, was dismissed the royal service, and condemned to the captivity of the Tower. Since this period he has become exceedingly tame, the cause of his former ill temper being removed, and demeans himself as quietly as the most harmless and gentlest of his tribe.