- "When first we strolled amidst ash and elm, they were already here, watching us with their sharp gazes. For a long time there was strife between our two kindreds and our children could not walk abroad in the day without fear of being swooped down upon quicker than even an Elven arrow can fly. To our lasting shame, we scaled their great trees, smashed their eggs, and killed their chicks. So it was until the coming of Kirada the Beast Caller. It was she who first made peace with the Shy-gwythiar, the Keen Ones, the Wind Riders. Those who had the guiltiest in destroying their young offered themselves up, but the Shy-gwythiar knew that vengeance was useless, instead saying that they would raise our children as their own. These were the first of the Warhawk ‘riders’ a clumsy Human term that doesn’t begin to properly describe the bonds between Wind Rider and Elf. They are not just loyal mounts; they are brothers and sisters."
- —Elthias, Waywatcher.[4a]
Warhawks are not an ancient race like the Great Eagles, though they are a particularly intelligent one and far more clever than any ‘normal’ bird. They originated in the forest of Athel Loren, where the greater bulk of them still reside, though some tales hold that a few of them have travelled farther afield to seek eyries elsewhere and a few of them have been spotted in the World's Edge Mountains.[4a]
Their long association with the Wood Elves is well known of outside of Athel Loren, though few guess at the nature of the relationship.[4a]
Warhawks are birds of prey large enough to serve as flying mounts. Their wingspan measures over six yards and each of their talons is as long as a dagger, making them dangerous adversaries in their own right. They are rarely seen in the Old World, and when spotted they are invariably ridden by the Wood Elves of Athel Loren.[4b]
Many large birds of prey cover the forest, especially where it covers the foothills, ravines and crags of the Grey Mountains. These hawks and buzzards often grow to be far larger than the similar species elsewhere in the Old World. Some are so big and have such a broad wingspan that they can carry a rider on their back. Some Wood Elves live among the crags inhabited by the great hawks and befriend them. One way they do this is by rescuing hatchlings or even hatching them from abandoned eggs found in nests among the pinnacles or in the highest branches of pine trees.[1a]
A fledgeling raised by an Elf develops a strong bond with its master and eventually the Elf will be able to ride the fully grown hawk. The hawk will be trained to fight with its beak and talons. Since the Elves themselves live high up among the treetops in platforms of woven branches, it is a very useful skill to be able to fly above the trees. The Warhawk riders can spot any intruders and swoop down to attack them.[1a]