I wouldn't upset Belian if I were you, traveller. That 'ball of feathers' as you put it has saved me from starvation and the elements many a time- probably even more times than you've been thrown out of one of those tavernas of yours.The Silverband hawk is a bird of prey found in the Heartlands of Arikanda. A species of hawk, they are known for their close bonds with Heartlander humans, and for their distinctive silver bands.
-a Druid of the Vessa on her Silverband hawk
Silverbands look quite similar to their hawk cousins, and can quite often be mistaken for species such as the red-tailed hawk. Their most distinguishable physical feature, and the one to which they claim their name, are what appear to be silver bands on their otherwise brown-feathered wings.
Ecology and Habitats
Asides from the skies, the Silverband is most at home in the temperate forests and plains of the Heartlands. They can adapt to warmer climates if required, but they much prefer a temperate, relatively cool environment.
Dietary Needs and Habits
As birds of prey, Silverbands are mostly carnivorous, subsisting on rodents and small mammals.
Silverbands connect with humans on a much deeper level than mere domesticated animals, developing a strong mental bond with the humans that 'adopt' them, a kind of bond also seen in other animals such as the The Druids, on the other hand, seek out an individual Silverband in their forests, often spending weeks following them and observing them, before a tentative social interaction begins, usually through shared food. A bond is usually formed between the Druid and their Silverband, which grows in strength the more time they spend together. Eventually, the Silverband itself chooses the Druid as a companion and friend, and the two travel together in a kind of innate understanding. Should a Druid's Silverband reproduce, the resulting young often adopt the Druid and on the death of their parent usually take up the role of companion to the 'orphaned' Druid. The Academy often find themselves as odds with the Druids as how best to treat the Silverbands; the Academy usually sees them as useful service animals, while the bond between Druid and Silverband can often become as strong as kinship.and the chromatic lorikeets of Maganti. They are domesticated primarily by the Academy and the Druids of the Vessa, who domesticate them in different ways. Academy faculty originally raised captive Silverbands before training the next generation of birds to treat them as family, similar to how most carrier birds would be trained.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Due to their affinity with humans, Silverbands are often used by humans to carry out tasks. In the Academy, they are regularly used to send messages to other settlements and to other buildings on the other Academy pillars. The , however, have taken on a completely new affinity with the Silverbands, adopting a role more akin to a companion or sidekick. The nature of the Silverbands' mental link with humans, and the connection most Druids have with creatures, allows them to share a limited mental bond with the birds, allowing them to share sensory information such as sight and hearing. This ability is extremely valuable to Druids, allowing them to perceive their surroundings in much greater detail, and allow them to find food and water. Silverbands with particularly strong bonds will even defend their human 'charges' from attack.
Silverbands are considerably more intelligent than other birds, and seem to have a capacity akin to a domesticated dog. They can understand human gestures and even basic commands, can engage in deception and manipulation, and have advanced memory capacity.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Silverbands have excellent vision, well on par with the most keen birds of prey. Of particular significance is their ability to share sensory information between themselves and a human that they designate as a companion. This manifests as an intuitive knowledge shared between the two, which allows Silverbands an even better view of the ground around their companion than would normally be available to them.