Druids, and Birds of Prey
Druids had an astounding relationship with birds of all species. Ravens, hawks, and falcons were all easy friends of the Druids. The smaller birds also were quite comfortable perched on the wrist of a Druid, and did not require a special calling once relationship had been established.
Druids were the first practitioners of what is today called Falconry. Their purpose, however, was a little different than that expressed by romantic literature. In the full-flower of Druidism, Druids liked to call the falcon to him, and to examine the falcon, and so observe conditions that were reflected upon the feather coat of the falcon. Falcons were a great indicator of weather conditions, migratory patterns, and signs of conflict or strife within the bird kingdom.
It was later generations, after the extermination of Druids, who ascertained the hunting capabilities of falcons, and learned to exploit that aspect of falcons, and were greatly esteemed by kings and other pretenders who had social claims within a humanistic hierarchy, who learned to embody and embrace the concept of falcon as hunter and predator. Thus, it was the establishment of the Roman Empire which truly elevated the "mystic" status of the falcon, and learned to exploit it as a hunting bird.
Eagles, too, were considered a great prize for their obvious power, and this probably goes a long way to explaining their near-extinct status at this time. There was a time when Eagles were relatively common over the British Isles, as well as America, but those beautiful birds, known as the most majestic, sage, and powerful beings of the aerial kingdom, did not stand a chance when faced against human ego and greed, and the need to supplant God and utopian creationalism. It is no wonder Eagles hide from the presence of humanistic environments. It is only a matter of time before they find little anklet bracelets around their feet, and they become indictable as convicts breaking parole for having too much fun.
Druids interacted with birds quite comfortably, believing that birds were somehow interdependent with trees, yet free to travel the skies, and somehow remain a link to the Earth, but not enslaved or trapped by Earthly laws of gravity or magnetics. It was through the birds, primarily, that Druids began to question the nature of magnetics, and to wonder if they themselves could fly, given the right atmospheric conditions.
Druids believed that birds had achieved mastery of understanding regarding Spirit and World. Druids believed that Man was capable of this understanding, and that this would facilitate understanding between the three realms of Spirit, World and Man.
Druids separated the birds into two classes; the distinct, and the indistinct. The distinct birds, known later as birds of prey, were ones the Druids considered conscious, and capable of hunting, discernment, and application of experience. The indistinct birds were those smaller and less fiercely territorial or individuated, who were more likely to follow the general customs and expectations of its species.
Druids loved either form; the conscious ones required an exercise in precision of thought and relationship; the unconscious ones required a harmony of feeling, and those birds, as agents of Earth, were more likely to be coddled as sensitive avians. In either case, Druids never considered one species more "Divine" than the other, and enjoyed the particular and individual expression of each species.
Druids did not segregate within themselves any status concerning bird-handling. It was a given that all Druids were capable of relationships with various birds, and it was assumed that every Druid interacted appropriately with the bird whose energy most closely resonated with his own. There was no sense of mastery, or overpowering, within the avian community, and it was granted that all communication and interaction from the avian kingdom was done at the will, choice, and meaning of the avian kingdom, and Druids simply allowed that which was right.