“On the 5th of December 1809, I made a drawing of the male of this species, in its matured state of colouring, at Louisville, in Kentucky, where I then resided . . . [I offer here, however] to your inspection a male, probably two years old, and an adult female . . . I have honoured the species with the name of the President of the Linnean Society of London, the Right Honourable Lord Stanley, a nobleman whose continued kindness to me I am happy in acknowledging . . .

The daring exploits performed by the Stanley Hawk, which have taken place in my presence, are very numerous, and I shall relate one or two of them.This marauder frequently attacks birds far superior to itself in weight, and sometimes possessed of courage equal to its own.  As I was one morning observing the motions of some Parakeets  . . . I heard a Cock crowing not far from me, and in sight of a farm-house.  The Stanley Hawk the next moment flew past me, and so close that I might have touched it with the barrel of my gun, had I been prepared.  Its wings struck with extraordinary rapidity, and its tail appeared as if closed.  Not more than a few seconds elapsed before I heard the cackling of the Hens, and the war-cry of the Cock, and at the same time observed the Hawk rising, as if without effort, a few yards in the air, and again falling towards the ground with the rapidity of lightning.  I proceeded to the spot, and found the Hawk grappled to the body of the Cock, both tumbling over and over, and paying no attention to me as I approached.  Desirous of seeing the result, I remained still, until perceiving that the Hawk had given a fatal squeeze to the brave Cock, I ran to secure the former; but the marauder had kept a hawk’s eye upon me, and, disengaging himself, rose in the air in full confidence.  The next moment I pulled a trigger, and he fell dead to the ground.  It proved a young male, such as you see, kind reader, represented in the Plate, pursuing a lovely Blue-bird nearly exhausted.”

–J. J. Audubon, Ornithological Biography, I (1831), 186-188 [excerpted].

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