Our Feathered Friends - July 6

The Bald Eagle was chosen as our national bird on June 20, 1782, because of its great strength, long life, and it’s majestic looks and was believed to exist only on this continent. The Eagle represents freedom. He became the National emblem in 1782 when the great seal of the United States was adopted.

The Great Seal shows a wide-spread Eagle, faced front, having on his breast a shield with13 perpendicular red and white stripes, surmounted by a blue field with the same number of stars. In his right talon the Eagle holds an olive branch, in his left a bundle of 13 arrows, and in his beak he carries a scroll inscribed with the motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” which translates to, “out of many, one.” The head of the Eagle faces the olive branch as a gesture of peace.

One of our favorite statesmen, Benjamin Franklin, no kin to Karen Franklin, wrote, “I wish that the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country, because he is a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly.

You may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk (Osprey), and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to it’s nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

Besides he is a rank coward; the little Kingbird, not bigger than a Sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and, of America. For a truth, the Turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America, a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on.” Franklin was clearly against the Eagle and let everyone know it. Likewise the great artist, John James Audubon agreed with Ben’s opinion of the Bald Eagle.

I received a telephone call from Joe Eatherly this past Saturday telling me about a White Mockingbird that comes around the Smith County Hospital in Carthage. If anyone is going up that way, try to get a picture where we can share it with my readers. Thanks for the heads up, Joe.

I would love to hear from you as to what’s lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, 37087, or call me at 547-7371 or e-mail me at ourfeatheredfriends@yahoo.com