Ms. Le Guin on which kind of Sparrowhawk

Extollager

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#1
Over at the "Tolkien and Agrarianism" thread

Tolkien and agrarianism

a question arose about which kind of sparrowhawk, the American or the European, Ursula Le Guin had in mind in visualizing Ged/Sparrowhawk of A Wizard of Earthsea.

Ursula Le Guin has kindly responded to my query about Ged / Sparrowhawk, which I made in response to HareBrain's comment.

She writes:

"It's the common Archipelagan sparrowhawk -- no Linnaean name, because Linnaeus didn't get to Earthsea, but I think he might have called it Falco sparverius Terramaris."

Since the American sparrowhawk or kestrel, that beautiful bird, is Falco sparverius, I think we would be safe in imagining this as the sparrowhawk that Ms. Le Guin had in mind, rather than the European sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus).

She adds: "The Kargish sparrowhawk is a little larger, and adapted to desert conditions."

My thanks to Ursula Le Guin for her answer and to HareBrain for the question!
 

HareBrain

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#2
Kudos for asking her!

Yes, falco would be kestrel-like. I'll have to replace the image of the bird in my mind when I read it next.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#3
Since she has lived a goodly portion of her life in the Pacific Northwest, and lived as a child in the northern half of California, I would imagine that she did envision the American sparrowhawk.

My sister, who was involved in animal rescue, had a kestrel for a time. It was a very attractive little bird, though I never saw it in flight.
 

Ursa major

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#4
Not forgetting that there's the same problem with Kestrels: it seems that the American Kestrel is not that closely related (or that similar in appearance) to old-world kestrels.

I mention this just in case folk on this side of The Pond were trying to visualise the common Archipelagan sparrowhawk in terms of its similarity to "true" kestrels.
 

wonkishere

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#6
I think it's great that she responded to your question. I loved a great deal of her work. I was under the impression that she's getting on in years now?
 

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