I know today (having lived in this marvelous valley for the last two decades) that the birds I observed that day at Rencurel were probably Black Kites [Milvus migrans].
Now, let's look at Leonardo da Vinci. His drawings and notes have been assembled into a set of 12 cardboard boxes known as the Codex Atlanticus.
I recall as one of my very earliest memories that, while I was in my cradle, a kite came down to me, and opened my mouth with its tail, and struck me many times with its tail against my lips.This anecdote fascinated an imaginative reader named Sigmund Freud. He was convinced that a little boy who dreams that a big bird has come down and struck its tail against his lips is surely of a homosexual disposition. There was a slight misunderstanding, however, in Freud's discovery of this anecdote. A German translator of Leonardo's Codex had designated the bird, not as a kite, but as a vulture. Consequently, Freud started searching for the theme of vultures in the life of Leonardo. In 1910, Freud even wrote a short study on Leonardo, in which he placed a great emphasis upon the theme of a "vulture" (I'm tempted to use Aussie baby talk, and call it a dicky bird) in Leonardo's childhood memories.
Another painting inspired by Leonardo has been in the news these days: the copy of Mona Lisa from the Prado museum in Madrid.