a respectable bird

“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 and 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 Bald 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 and 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.”

–Ben Franklin in a letter to his daughter

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2 Responses to a respectable bird

  1. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    The wild turkey, unlike it’s domestic relatives, is also a very smart bird. People who pay whatever-the-hell-the-price is for a Turkey tag for their hunting licenses fail about 80% of the time to bag the bird.

    They can fly, they see almost as sharply as eagles do, only in color. They can tell the difference between the best camouflage known to man and anything natural. And they’re smart, they don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    Not to mention that the Turkey for whom the American bird was mis-named is also called a Guinea, an African bird. Sort of the same reason a Bison is misnamed a Buffalo and neither Bison nor Buffalo are native words for the native beast.

    The English had first run into the Guinea fowl IN the Nation of Turkey, and called it a “turkey bird”. Some imaginative linguistics there.

    What got me onto that particular kick, you’ll notice that your bird was posted with the tag Turkey, and the WordPress search engine assigned it relevance based on the frequency of recent mention of Turkey. The nation….

    You might say that the WP search engine is intellectually a real “Jive Turkey” but only if you wanted people to think that you’re stuck in the Seventies.

  2. Avatar Pilarerecto says:

    Marie, you once told me that you could not imagine any cop with a taser ever using it on one of your kids… Well, perhaps you might not ever imagine them being visited by the Jehovah’s Witnesses either. So FYI, I send you this link to a video on how to handle it if they should show up at your door…


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