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"Our national bird may still be admired by those who are not familiar with its habits."
October 11, 2006 6:02 PM   Subscribe

"Our national bird may still be admired by those who are not familiar with its habits." Franklin knew knew most of this.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts (25 comments total)

 
No way. It's a great choice.

1) It's rare enough that seeing one is an event.
2) It's distinctive enough that you know when you see one.
posted by smackfu at 6:17 PM on October 11, 2006


I agree... the "moral character" of a bird (Franklin's own words) is one of those outmoded ideas that I'm kind of surprised our Founding Fathers held. I tend to think of them as supremely rational; it's hard to reconcile that with some of the bizarre shit they said and believed.

For my money, the crow is the coolest bird ever, and should be the Earth's planetary bird.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:34 PM on October 11, 2006 [2 favorites]


I knew bald eageles were sort of parasitic, but not that "they seek out vultures and force them to vomit." Part of me wants to know how they accomplish this.
posted by exogenous at 7:18 PM on October 11, 2006


Reads like an allegory.
posted by The White Hat at 7:22 PM on October 11, 2006


This is too cool. Screw bald eagles. Long live the Golden Eagle!
posted by TheGoldenOne at 7:27 PM on October 11, 2006


the author writes: its predatory attacks on the smaller and weaker...

Vietnam. Iraq. Sounds like that bird might be an appropriate choice, sad to say.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 PM on October 11, 2006


I lived in Alaska for 18 months. Bald eagles are dirty, ugly birds that eat from dumpsters, shit everywhere and are mean.

A lot like...naah, I'm not going there.

But as an iconic national symbol, the bald eagle pretty much sucks.
posted by disclaimer at 7:40 PM on October 11, 2006


I knew bald eageles were sort of parasitic, but not that "they seek out vultures and force them to vomit." Part of me wants to know how they accomplish this.

Ask nj_subgenius. He knows.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:40 PM on October 11, 2006


"they seek out vultures and force them to vomit." Part of me wants to know how they accomplish this.

turkey vultures, when threatened by another creature will vomit at it ... i've never gotten close enough to one to have this experience, but from what i've heard, it's even more vile and disgusting than you'd think

by the way, turkey vultures are the coolest birds ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:16 PM on October 11, 2006


We always called them Turkey buzzards in the Upstate New York swampland in which I grew up. I've had the misfortune of nearly being vomited on by one of these giant ugly bastards. I came upon it eating the carcass of a dead deer at the edge of a field. Startled, it vomited all over the place as it took off.

It smells exactly what you'd think the vomit of a bird that eats decaying flesh would smell like.
posted by quite unimportant at 8:27 PM on October 11, 2006


Oh and they shit all over themselves (legs mostly), but I forget why exactly.
posted by quite unimportant at 8:30 PM on October 11, 2006


Nature can be pretty disgusting sometimes.
posted by exogenous at 8:37 PM on October 11, 2006


of a bird (Franklin's own words) is one of those outmoded ideas that I'm kind of surprised our Founding Fathers held.

I don’t know. If you’re going to use any creature as a symbol, it makes sense that its habits should be a reflection of virtues you want to claim. Sure it’s a matter of casting (carrion birds are, uh, “survivors”), but “rank coward, commonly fleeing birds the size of sparrows”? But hey, at least you didn’t choose a large flat-tailed rat.
posted by dreamsign at 8:46 PM on October 11, 2006


A carnivore that does gross things and steals prey? The shock!

It makes a good emblem... it's impressive-looking.

And I agree about the crow. Very interesting animal. And a little frightening.
posted by zennie at 8:52 PM on October 11, 2006


Oh and they shit all over themselves (legs mostly), but I forget why exactly.

the acid in their waste kills the germs
posted by pyramid termite at 10:21 PM on October 11, 2006


Fascinating fact: there is an eagle in South Africa called a fish eagle. It looks for all the world like a bald eagle. They fly around my house frequently, I overlook an estuary rich in bird life. But they look a bit cleaner, perhaps. I've seen bald eagles in the states a number of times, in northern Wisconsin. I've seen them along the road, eating road-kill deer.
posted by Goofyy at 10:22 PM on October 11, 2006


Last year, I was looking out my window at work in Juneau, AK and saw an eagle fly by with a flapping fish big enough to feed two people.

Best eagle story EVAR: A former dept. head was looking out his window on his first day on the job and saw a bald eagle flying by with a live cat in it's clutches. Awesome!

All that aside, the raven is ten times cooler. They are smart, tricky, and they always seem to be laughing at you. They also like chasing the herons around, making them poop in defense. Man, no animal poops like a heron. Whitewashes your car.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:39 PM on October 11, 2006


I prefer rooks^ over crows, more entertaining.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:48 AM on October 12, 2006


.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:56 AM on October 12, 2006


Hey, MonkeySaltedNuts, just a little curious, what's the "." for? Some bald eagle just died, or what?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:26 AM on October 12, 2006


I'm gonna Nth the crow-for-national-bird-statement. Crows behavior is a great analog for the behavior of our nation, both good an bad.

Clever, check
Tenacious, check
Will eat anything, check

Distracted by shiny objects, check.

That said, I would be averse to either a raven or a rook taking the job either.
posted by quin at 11:45 AM on October 12, 2006


[There is a great photo by Jim brandenburg of a raven antagonizing a bald eagle by pulling on one if it's tail feathers. The eagle looks supremely pissed. I always loved that picture.]
posted by quin at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2006


Oh and they shit all over themselves (legs mostly), but I forget why exactly.

the acid in their waste kills the germs


No, they do it to cool themselves (bullet #3).
posted by DakotaPaul at 12:52 PM on October 12, 2006


the acid in their waste kills the germs

No, they do it to cool themselves (bullet #3).

Damn. Colour me disappointed.
posted by Sparx at 1:39 PM on October 12, 2006


Raven tries to distract eagle from fish by pulling on its tail
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:23 PM on October 12, 2006


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