So, I caught a glimpse of a falcon carrying off its breakfast as I drove to work the other day (most likely a peregrine, based on size, shape, and markings) and it got me thinking about gryphons.
So the idea kind of simmered in my head the rest of the day, about which species tend to get paired together to form this chimeric creature. Lion/eagle, cheetah/falcon, etc. The lion is large and powerful, so it should be matched by the eagle, whereas the cheetah is small and fast and seems to fit best with the little speedy falcons. And that got me to thinking, what if they were matched up by prey, behavior, or hunting patterns? Lions are unique in that they are a group hunter, while most other felines are solitary. Raptors are the same, except for the Harris hawk, which (I believe) is the only raptor to hunt in groups. And the cheetah is a small, highly specialized feline, built for speed AND agility - they are able to completely change direction mid-stride while still at breakneck speeds. They seem to be better matched to the goshawk, which hunts in forests and needs to be able to dodge around trees and branches (seriously cool demonstration: [link] ). As for the falcon, their tactic is to dive from on high (where their prey won't see them) and slam into their prey, taking them completely by surprise. This seems to match up much better to the leopard, which will get as close to their prey as possible to take them down in one move.
My brain will likely build on this.
This pleases me.