SciSun: Birds of a Feather   Leave a comment

We all know ‘Founding Father’ Ben Franklin was a little, let’s say, unique. Who flies a kite in a thunderstorm? But one idea gentleman Franklin did have (most everyone was more formal in those days) that seems good to us, but few others, was his proposal to make the Wild American Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) official symbol of the United States. It wasn’t that Ben (who for the time was a pretty informal guy) particularly disliked the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) – the candidate that finally did win the national symbol prize – it’s just that he considered the Turkey a more suitable representation of America, and what he believed America stands for: Honest work; perseverance; and joining together toward a common goal. You see, the Wild Turkey that lived throughout much of the American ‘wilderness’ two hundred years ago was a far more industrious, keen and able fellow than their farm-living cousins of today who eventually meet a sad end (it’s a holiday for everyone, except the main course).

On the other hand the eagle, although appearing far more majestic than the rather homely turkey, is a loner; keeps a poorly constructed, often dirty nest; and is known to eat carrion (dead animals) if it makes an easy meal. Not exactly the type of presentation America should be known for, Benjamin argued. Of course, in his debate he managed to leave un-mentioned the fact that he, and many of the other early founders of America were older men, bald themselves, and maybe highlighting a bird with ‘bald’ as its first name might make some uncomfortable. And he chose to overlook the widely-accepted folklore that turkeys can sometimes drown because they don’t know enough to get out of the rain. But no one’s perfect.

Turkey and eagle BLM

A Turkey, and an eagle

So in honor of Thanksgiving, and in respect to Ben – who is often referred to with the honorable title ‘The First American’ for his outstanding achievements (and also called ‘The Patron Saint of Advertising’ for his ability to convince and sway opinion); and who had more good, than questionable ideas, here’s to the Wild Turkey who could have been our national symbol; and to the Bald Eagle who’s learned to carry the distinction with pride. Although if given a chance, even today no Bald Eagle will refuse a free meal.

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/turkey/history.cfm

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/wild-turkey/

^^^

Michonne Says: I remember that story about the Con-door, and his bald head. Now here’s a story about a bald Eagle. They’ve all got to be cold. I don’t think these animals are planning very well.

Posted November 24, 2013 by ECOVIA eco-adventure® in SciSun

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