Young at Heart   Leave a comment

Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) aren’t really bald. They have a head of white feathers, and for most animals it’s a short trip from white-headed to bald-headed (umm- looking- cough- at you -cough- dad). But when young, the bald eagle is shades of dark brown – head included – and doesn’t start to develop white head-feathers until it’s five or six years old. The eagles live about twenty years or more, so just going white isn’t any indication of old age. Both the male and female eagles eventually become white-headed, although none of them ever go bald. Which makes you wonder why they’re not called white-headed eagles. Of course the tail eventually becomes white too, so they would have to be renamed ‘White-head-and-tail-eagles’ and that gets awkward.

There’s a similar eagle in North America named the Golden Eagle. It is golden-colored (actually light-brownish) -even it’s head – and is found in many more areas than the Bald Eagle.

The Bald Eagle is the national bird and symbol of the United States, because it’s seen as majestic and powerful and flies above all.  But when the Founding Fathers were developing the United States, some people (particularly Benjamin Franklin, who was always more of a free-thinker) wanted to name the Turkey the national symbol because it’s brave and works hard to find food and, years ago, could be easily seen almost anywhere in the country. The eagle wasn’t considered quite as respectable because it sometimes eats whatever it comes across, including dead animals. So if the humble Turkey had been named the national symbol, we wonder what today would be the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And if you were an eagle, and were starting to worry when November came, that would be enough to make anyone go bald.

Turkey and eagle BLM

A Turkey, and an eagle

Posted November 22, 2012 by ECOVIA eco-adventure® in ECOVIA Central

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