It starts with chicks… err eggs (photo source: me). Cockfighting is an Individual Liberty! It is unconstitutional and just plain oppression to enact laws criminalizing a traditional and universal sport. Do you know that Gamecock lost by only one vote to Bald Eagle to be the United States of America official national bird? 7 and 6 votes. And the Turkey got 1 vote. June 20, 1872.
Gamecock = 6 vote
Turkey = 1 vote
Eagle = 7 vote
In a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin wrote:
For my own part I wish the Eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. 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 near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping & robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird 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 honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our country…
I am on this account not displeased that the figure is not known as a Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the truth the Turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.
The idea that Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey as the national bird of the United States comes from a letter he wrote to his daughter Sarah Bache on January 26, 1784. The main subject of the letter is a criticism of the Society of the Cincinnati, which he likened to a chivalric order, which contradicted the ideals of the newly founded American republic. In one section of the letter, Franklin remarked on the appearance of the Bald Eagle on the Society’s crest.
May 06, 2011
The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States of America. It was chosen as the national bird by dint of its inclusion in the National Seal of the United States, which happened by an act of the Continental Congress on 20 June 1782. The seal had been through multiple iterations by the time it was approved by Congress – three different committees comprising a total of fourteen men had come up with a host of ideas – but it was the Secretary of Congress, Charles Thomson, who was charged with the final design and he, on his own, decided to make a small eagle that appeared in the third committee’s design larger and specifically a Bald Eagle. No explanation of his decision is known to exist, though he did simply state “The Escutcheon is born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue.”
Benjamin Franklin was famously not happy about the decision to use the Bald Eagle as a symbol of the United States (he preferred the Wild Turkey). From France he wrote to his daughter expressing his displeasure:
For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. 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 near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird 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 honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King Birds from our Country . . .
Bald Eagle image is by Francois Portmann and is used with permission
Of course, in the twentieth century Bald Eagle numbers went into steep decline as the effects of DDT decimated their population. The banning of DDT and subsequent management of the species led to Bald Eagles being the poster child for the success of the Endangered Species Act. While Haliaeetus leucocephalus now has a healthy and still growing population and is no longer listed as endangered, many other species in the United States are still in danger of being wiped out of existence. Here’s hoping that the law that was used to restore the eagle, that is itself constantly under threat, stays strong or is even strengthened so we have many species to celebrate in the United States besides our national bird.
Benjamin Radford, Life’s Little Mysteries Contributor | September 13, 2010 09:45am ET
Credit: Wade Eakle, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Along with an official flower and motto, every state has its own official bird. But flying high above them all is the bald eagle, representing the United States of America. Images of the iconic bird can be found just about everywhere, from coins and paper currency to passports and the president’s official seal. But why this bird?
The idea for using the bald eagle to symbolize America was proposed in 1782, when a drawing of the eagle was presented to the newly-formed Congress, according the U.S. National Archives. It was immediately accepted, and soon an olive branch and arrows (representing peace and war, respectively) were included in the eagle’s talons.
The bald eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States five years later, in 1787.
The bald eagle was chosen because of its association with authority and statehood in fact, the eagle had been used as a symbol of governmental power since Roman times.
President John F. Kennedy added to the list of noble descriptors when he wrote to Charles Callison of the National Audubon Society on July 18, 1961: “The founding fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation . The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.”
Given some of the other possible options (crows, hummingbirds, chickens, etc.) the bald eagle seems an obvious choice in retrospect.
Four kinds of birds were suggested in preliminary Great Seal designs:
- a two-headed eagle
- a rooster
- a dove
- a “phoenix in flames.”