Falcon Charges: Redtailed Hawk

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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15 March 2009 06:31
 

After having done a bit of websurfing for the past few days, I have come to the conclusion that falcons are generally rendered close. I’ve encountered a hungarian town which has as it’s primary charge a falcon displayed though and it looks really cool

The only problem I see with having a falcon displayed is that it looks an awful lot like an eagle displayed.

 

I have read that falcons can also be used interchangeably as hawks, in other words, there are no heraldric hawks, so just use falcons instead.

 

Finally, falcons can be armed and langued just like other heraldic critters, however, something I have not yet encountered anywhere, and am wondering about, is can they be "tailed?"

 

To put it simply, my question: can a red-tailed hawk can be rendered as a falcon displayed sable, armed and tailed gules?

 

Would this be stretching tradition too far?

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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15 March 2009 08:49
 

JBGarrison;67410 wrote:

Finally, falcons can be armed and langued just like other heraldic critters, however, something I have not yet encountered anywhere, and am wondering about, is can they be "tailed?"

To put it simply, my question: can a red-tailed hawk can be rendered as a falcon displayed sable, armed and tailed gules?

 


Sure, why not?  I’m sure someone can invent a quasi-Norman-French word for this, but why bother?  The point of blazon is to be understood, and what you have suggested seems incapable of misinterpretation.

 

For that matter, you could blazon it as a red-tailed hawk (Hawkus rubitailus) proper, and get a more realistic red-tailed hawk, although I personally would prefer the first option.  There are a number of arms with naturalistic birds—the US for one; South Australia for another, for those who think that if the College of Arms doesn’t do it it can’t be done.  I imagine there are lots of Canadian examples as well.

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/South_Australia_coa.png

 
David Pritchard
 
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David Pritchard
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15 March 2009 15:52
 

As a life long amateur ornithologist, I find the inexactitude of this discussion to be disturbing. Hawks and falcons are no more interchangable than lions and tigers as they are physically very different creatures. Would one blazon a dog as a talbot and then depict a chihuahua?

The red tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensus) is a member of the Accipitridae subfamily Buteo, known in common parlance as broad winged hawks. Its broad wings and wide rounded tails are so distinctive that one can distinguish a member of Buteo in flight from a falcon at quite a long distance. I would use the word buteo (the Latin word for hawk) or the exact scientific name of Buteo jamaicensus in a blazon rather than the inaccurate word of falcon.

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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15 March 2009 16:46
 

David Pritchard;67425 wrote:

As a life long amateur ornithologist, I find the inexactitude of this discussion to be disturbing.


My understanding was that "a falcon sable tailed gules" wasn’t supposed to look like a red-tailed hawk but rather to allude to a red-tailed hawk.  Heraldic falcons aren’t depicted true to life anyway, so I don’t see the problem with this approach.  Perhaps "a hawk sable tailed gules," but either way…

 

To me, this would be parallel to someone from, say, Virginia or Kentucky, whose stem arms contained martlets changing their tincture to Gules to allude to cardinals, as an alternative to showing actual cardinals, or blazoning a coat of arms as Sable a bear rampant Argent to allude to a polar bear, without insisting on the distinctive shape of a polar bear.

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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15 March 2009 16:56
 

Mister Pritchard I apologize; I didn’t mean to offend peoples’ sensibilities by implying that hawks and falcons were similar.  Basically I just meant to say that I came to the conclusion that on medieval battlefields, identification from friend or foe wasn’t as subtle as realizing hawk and falcon species differed.  That’s why I also mentioned the problem with having falcon wings displayed rather than close.

Modern heraldry, especially provincial/territorial seems to have very detailed renderings of various animals, and I hadn’t thought to approach it like that.

 

My thinking was entirely about a medieval heraldic representation of such a creature.  Anyhow Mister Pritchard, thankyou for the information about red tailed hawks.  While I’ve never known anything about them but, I’ve always enjoyed seeing them as they are quite majestic to watch.  I greatly appreciate your input and attention to my question. :D

 
Alexander Liptak
 
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Alexander Liptak
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15 March 2009 18:58
 

David Pritchard;67425 wrote:

As a life long amateur ornithologist, I find the inexactitude of this discussion to be disturbing. Hawks and falcons are no more interchangable than lions and tigers as they are physically very different creatures. Would one blazon a dog as a talbot and then depict a chihuahua?


As an bird enthusiast, it would be easier for you to find the differences between a falcon and eagle, yet to one not so well read this could be a difficult task.  After all, a falcon and eagle seem rather more alike than the example of a maned lion and a striped tiger.

 

Just as a gardener could tell what specie of maple a tree is from looking a leaf, when a common person would most likely be unable to give so precise a specie.  Even if the gardener says that there are clear physical differences between the different maple species.

 

Perhaps some leniency to those not so well read on a particular specialized branch of zoology?

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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15 March 2009 19:53
 

Mister Liptak, thankyou, this raises another question then.

Mister Pritchard, would it be more accurate to render a hawk with a heraldic falcon or a heraldic eagle in your opinion?  In otherwords, is a hawk (especially redtailed hawk) more closely simliar (real world not heraldry) to an eagle or a falcon?

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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15 March 2009 21:57
 

Emblazon it however you want.  The main difference between an eagle and a falcon in heraldry is that a falcon doesn’t have a tuft on the head, and usually does have bells and jesses attached to its legs.  Otherwise, in heraldry, an eagle looks like a falcon looks like a hawk, unless you specify a particular species.

Call it a hawk displayed sable tailed gules and quit sweating the small stuff!

 
Daniel C. Boyer
 
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Daniel C. Boyer
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15 March 2009 22:33
 

Joseph McMillan;67416 wrote:

Sure, why not?  I’m sure someone can invent a quasi-Norman-French word for this, but why bother?  The point of blazon is to be understood, and what you have suggested seems incapable of misinterpretation.


I think a word already has been invented: queued.


Quote:

For that matter, you could blazon it as a red-tailed hawk (Hawkus rubitailus) proper, and get a more realistic red-tailed hawk, although I personally would prefer the first option.  There are a number of arms with naturalistic birds—the US for one; South Australia for another, for those who think that if the College of Arms doesn’t do it it can’t be done.  I imagine there are lots of Canadian examples as well.


The CoA has used naturalistic birds on occasion.

 
David Pritchard
 
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15 March 2009 23:43
 

JBGarrison;67433 wrote:

Mister Pritchard, would it be more accurate to render a hawk with a heraldic falcon or a heraldic eagle in your opinion?  In otherwords, is a hawk (especially redtailed hawk) more closely simliar (real world not heraldry) to an eagle or a falcon?


The silhouette of an eagle (less the tuft) is closer to that of a broad winged hawk than than that of a falcon to a broad winged hawk.

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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16 March 2009 00:55
 

Excellent, thankyou all very much for your input!

I will go ahead and use "hawk" in the blazon and hope for the best. :D

 

(and Mister Boyer, thanks for giving me the term queued to look up.  New addition to my heraldic lexicon)

 
Michael F. McCartney
 
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Michael F. McCartney
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17 March 2009 22:22
 

If you don’t already have a crest, you might consider using a more heraldically stylized rendition on the shield & a more naturalistic version for the crest.

Or maybe not… I guess that might (could) be a bit confusing to the average viewer.

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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06 April 2009 01:46
 

Mister McCartney, I like the idea of using a hawk for a crest.  In german style, I think demi-critters issueing from the mantle are used often?

Probably wouldn’t be prudent to have the tail feathers (queu?) visibible if in demi form atop the helm?

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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06 April 2009 07:05
 

So don’t make it issuant—have it standing on top of the helm so the tail shows.

 
Robert Tucker
 
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Robert Tucker
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06 April 2009 09:48
 

OR if you wish to use the German style crest of demi-critter and mantling, it might turn out really well if you stylize the mantling to look like the tail of the hawk.  :D

 
David Pritchard
 
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06 April 2009 10:41
 

Robert Tucker;68298 wrote:

OR if you wish to use the German style crest of demi-critter and mantling, it might turn out really well if you stylize the mantling to look like the tail of the hawk. Give it kind of a feathery feel.


The term for feathered or feathery is plumetty in English blazon and plumeté in French blazon. On the field of the escutcheon, it is treated the same as a fur. Another way in which to depict the tail of the hawk would be to have the mantling torn into feather-like strips in the same way that mantling is (very rarely) torn to resemble leaves of a specific tree or specific plants (badges).