There is a fantasy novel series that I'm trying to remember the title and/or author of. The land included a circular plain surrounded by a sheer cliff wall that was created by a cataclysmic magical explosion. Some characters have animal familiars. I recall one scene where some raiders approach a forest village. When confronted by a village scout (who is adept at tree climbing) they state they saw no signs or guards to indicate they were trespassing. The scout's response was along the lines of "We need no signs and I am guard."
Any one of many books set in Valdemar, by Mercedes Lackey. The guards are Hawkbrothers, and have 'bondbirds'; intelligent birds that they can talk to telepathically. look up Velgarth on Wiki, and it'll give you lots more information.