A brief view of Griffins
griffin image by Dee Dreslough

I wrote this in between finals on my notebook...let's hope the finals are just as good..heh heh...Oh, mom, hey...just kidding!

Spelling: Griffin is spelled CORRECTLY three ways. I just love the English language: griffin, griffon, gryphon. They are ALL pronounced like the first, thus not to confuse phonetically challenged people, that's the way I prefer it is spelled. The Gryphon's Guild considers the 'alternative' spellings correct. I don't. Grrrrrrrr. That makes me P.O.ed. So don't MISSPELL IT OK???
Now, you ask, now that I know how its spelled, what the heck is it?? The Griffin is a mythological creature consisting of the head, forelegs, and wings of an eagle, and the body, tail and hindlegs of an eagle.
Today, the griffin's popularity is on the rise today, and there are variations on this eagle-lion norm, and that's OK by me. In fact, I support em.

Now, I know you're just DYING to know: how does it kill its prey? Actually, not that many people ponder this, but that's what us scientific types think about. Well, let's break it down:
1/2 Raptor
1/2 feline.
Well, raptors kill their prey in one of several ways: 1) jab it with large and powerful talons 2) knock it out of the sky with fisted talons (falcons)
Felines kill thier prey with a chokehold bite to the neck. Well, beaks don't hold up to that sort of stuff, so that's out.
That leaves us with raptors. The falcon way is improbable, because flying game is far too small for the griffin: its average size is about that of a Shire horse.shire horse and human: relative size OK... Griffins have BIG talons.
Now talons...that makes me think... how are they arranged? Now you're going what does that have to do with anything? Actually, a lot. Owls, large eagles, and psittacines (parrots, and I don't think I spelled that right, oh well...) all have a special talon arrangement for a superior grasp of food. They have a reversable toe. In short: two talons fore, and two "thumbs" aft. Got it? Good, I couldn't find a picture. Oh, yeah, they stalk their prey like cats sometimes (a fantastic example of this is found in Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon's The Black Gryphon a magnificent book!!!).

Here's a hunting situation lined up for ya (provided by Mr. Eckard's reeely easy World History test...by the way, who was Saladin?)
It is a calm, bright day, and a herd of deer graze in a meadow. Oh, how sweet. Birds are chirping, and there's little happy go lucky Disney music playing. What's wrong with this picture?
a) There's no wind: the griffin cannot "hover" in search of prey in the way that kestrels or white tailed kites do, nor circle effortlessly as hawks do. Let us assume that no thermals are present, ok? So, you say, it does what every predator does in a bad situation: sit it out. Just for argument's sake, this griffin is rrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellly hungry. I mean, it's SHOWTIME.
b)If it DOES fly, it can EASILY discovered by its prey.
(To all AD&D people, and Magic the Gathering Folks, I'm leaving magic out of this, cause it doesn't look as cool in the mind's eye as a Discovery Channel documentary on lions of the Serengeti disembowling a zebra, ok? good, now think hungry...)
So, what does this very, oh, so starving griffin do? Stalk like a lion or cheetah. It positions itself downwind ( said it was windless: the wind just picked up, 'cause its my daydream!) and crawls on its creeling belly towards the unsuspecting deer herd. It gets close enough to discover that one of the herd has a slight limp, and has strayed from the main group. Lunch time. It uses its feline hindlegs to launch it into the air, and its mighty wings open with a horrific WHOOSH!, sending the horrified herd into a frenzy. But it is far too late for the 'chosen' one. The griffin digs its long, thick talons into the animal's trembling throat, and it whistles wetly with pain. (lose lunch ~~> here) The griffin settles down on the grassy knoll, and uses its large beak to tear away the soft portions first. Its crop full, it flys lazily off to its aerie untill it becomes hungry again....
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