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Is The Turkey Boulder’s National Bird Choice? Bald Eagle? Neither??

This is good news or bad news or both.

The Revered Bald Eagle is NOT THE NATIONAL BIRD! Yes, you read that correctly.

The Minnesota legislature is deciding whether or not to name  Haliaeetus leucocephalus — the bald eagle — the national bird of the United States. WHY? Everyone knows that the Bald Eagle is already the National Bird. Except that it is NOT!!!

The real story is spelled out by Jack E. Davis, a distinguished professor of history at the University of Florida and the author of “The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird.”

The famous white-headed raptor appears on the seal of the United States and the seals of nearly every federal agency. It is found on our bills, sewed onto military uniforms and sits atop millions of flagstaffs. Even the rightfully trusted Wikipedia has this wrong. What about CHATgpt?

“In 1782, the bald eagle was officially chosen as the national bird of the United States when it was included in the design of the Great Seal of the United States. The Continental Congress appointed a committee in 1776 to design a national seal, but it wasn’t until June 20, 1782, that the final design was approved. The bald eagle, a native bird to North America, was chosen for its majestic appearance and its representation of strength, independence, and freedom, aligning with the values of the newly formed nation.” CHATgpt 6/20/2024 Even CHAT admits that it can be wrong, and here is an example of an AI error.

The error, the mistaken belief in the Eagle as the national bird, traces its origin to the appearance of the Eagle on the national seal. Notice that in the CHATgpt analysis,  it jumps from “used on the seal” to “it’s the national bird.” That leap is intellectually dishonest and simply wrong! The date, 1782, and the appearance of the Bald Eagle on the national seal really happened. BUT that does not in and of itself make the raptor our national bird.

While it does appear on the national seal, it was never officially named the national bird! We have the bison as the national mammal, the oak as the national tree and the rose as the national flower, all recognized by Congress. BUT neither Congress nor any president has similarly honored the Bald Eagle! It’s reputation exceeds its reach. If appearing on the national seal was sufficient, what national symbol is the pyramid which also appears on the emblem?

Is that enough shock for one day? How about this for a closer. Apparently Ben Franklin did NOT suggest the turkey as a national bird, although it would have been and remains a fine choice.

And thus Minnesota is seeking to correct this oversight and truly make the grand Bald Eagle our first and only national bird.

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

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