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National Symbol - Turkey vs. Eagle
When the eagle was considered for national emblem in 1782, wise Benjamin Franklin championed the turkey. He said: "The Bald Eagle is too lazy to fish for himself; when the Osprey has taken a fish ... the eagle pursues him and takes it away from him. ... Besides he is a rank coward ..." frightened by a kingbird. But the Wild Turkey, Franklin wrote, is "a bird of courage [that] would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on."
National Bird: Turkey vs. Eagle
Our “Courageous” National Bird?
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Sound of fireworks]
Independence Day, time to reflect a moment on that enduring symbol, our national bird. The very image of courage and a bird of massive size, admired for its impressive feathering, its widespread presence throughout our country, its central presence on national holidays. Even its voice is well known. [Wild Turkey gobbling]
Wait a minute! The turkey, our national bird?!
When the eagle was being selected for national emblem in 1782, the wise Benjamin Franklin championed the turkey. [Wild Turkey gobbling]
Franklin wrote: “I wish that the Bald Eagle had not been chosen . . . a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly … too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk [Call of the Osprey] and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, … the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it away from him. … Besides he is a rank coward …” fleeing when mobbed by a robin-sized kingbird.
The turkey, Franklin wrote, is “though a little vain and silly, a bird of courage that would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on.” [Pause… Then Wild Turkey gobbling]
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
[Wild Turkey gobbling]
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Bald Eagle call recorded by J.R. Storm. Osprey call recorded by G.A. Keller.
Wild Turkey calls recorded and provided by Kevin Colver.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org July 2012 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# 070507WITU2 WITUBAEA-01b
Quotations from baldeagleinfo.com