Our National Bird

For all its splendor and power, the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) has a dark side: opportunist and bully. I once watched one harass an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) until the later gave up its catch. In addition to stealing from other birds, Bald Eagles can subsist completely on carrion. In spite of the name, Bald Eagles are more closely related to vultures than true Eagles (genus Aquila).

No lesser personage than Ben Franklin thought the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) better represented the aspirations of the young country he helped found: “…the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America…”