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are quite tenantless. The Persians say that it was formerly very dangerous to approach a pigeon tower; for if a person happened to cough near one, such crowds of pigeons rushed out that the intruder would instantly be knocked down and stunned.
Peacocks are great favourites in Persia ; and are more common than in this country, as an ornament in grounds and gardens. The King of Persia has a throne which is called “the throne of the peacock," on account of two artificial birds, intended to represent peacocks, which are placed on square pillars on each side of the seat. These birds are studded with precious stones, and each of them holds a large ruby in his beak.
J. But do, dear uncle, tell us something more about the king and his throne ?
U. O. Not now. Remember we are now talking about birds. We shall have to talk about the king at some other time.
Hawks of different species are much employed in Persia. One, at least, is kept by most persons who are not engaged in business ; and gentlemen when on journeys are frequently
attended by a servant whose business it is to attend to the hawk, which he carries on his hand behind his master, ready to let it fly against any game that may be started. When thus carried, they are always hoodwinked; but, of course, the hood is taken off when the game is in view. The hawks used in hunting are of three sorts. The Cherkh, which is the same that is employed in hunting the antelope, in the manner I have already described; the Bhyree, a hawk which is also much used in India; and the Sha-baz, or “ royal falcon,” which is chiefly used against hares. The two first sorts are principally employed against a bird called the Hubara, which is a sort of bustard. This bird is large, weighing generally about seven or eight pounds. There is a tuft of black and white feathers on its head, the back of which and of the neck are spotted black. The sides of the head and throat are white, and so is the under part of the body. The breast is of a slate colour, and the feathers of the wing are greenish-brown, speckled with black; the bill is very dark grey, and there is a large and handsome tuft of black and white feathers on each side of the neck. These birds are found on almost naked plains. They make short flights, and soon become tired. It is difficult to get near them with a gun; and although they are sometimes taken by riding at them on horseback, the most common method is to fly hawks at them. The Persian name of the bird means “the young antelope.”
Henry. How odd that they should call a bird by the name of a beast ! · U. O. It is because they suppose the bird in some qualities to resemble the beast. In the same way they call an ostrich by a name which signifies “the camel-bird.” .
H. That is still more odd.
U. O. It is still better; for when a camel is coming with his front towards you, so that you can only see two of his legs, his appearance much resembles that of an ostrich. Indeed, in the deserts, where it is usual to see both camels and ostriches, it is at a distance hardly possible to distinguish them, unless by difference of size. - For the purpose of taking the hubara, the services of both the cherkh and the bhyree are usually required, in the manner I will now describe. · As the men who carry the cherkh ride over the plain, they now and then take off their hoods and hold them up that they may see if there is any game.
F. But could not the men see for themselves ?
U. O, They cannot see so well as the hawks, whose power of discovering distant objects far exceeds that of man. The cherkh often discovers the bustard at a spot where the man who carries him can see nothing distinctly. He knows, however, that the bird has discovered the game by its struggles to get loose; and then he throws the hawk off his hand, and away it flies at full speed, skimming over the ground, and the men then gallop away after him. As the hawk approaches the hubara, that noble bird does not fly away, which would indeed be of little use, but with its head raised, and its wings outspread, advances to meet its adversary, and with its beak and wings often defends itself so well against the terrible pounces of the cherkh, that it finds an opportunity of rising from the ground upon the wing, without being hurt. The services of the cherkh are then at an end, as it never follows the hubara when it flies away. Therefore the other hawk called the bhyree is let loose the moment the hubara rises, and generally compels it to take refuge on the ground again. A fresh cherkh is