While I try, not too patiently, to wait for the green light to begin travel again (fingers crossed soon) let me share what I hope are some surprising facts about national birds I have met so far in my travels.  First, a little background.

How are national birds chosen?  Basically a national bird is chosen to be the official bird of a country due to a number of factors that best symbolize its country. However, although National birds are selected for their abundance, ubiquity and uniqueness, some of the chosen are at least to me a bit surprising. I wold think that a bird’s beauty, or special song or spirit would make them obvious choices, but sometimes the choices are a little difficult to underststand.. See if you agree.


I am starting with probably one of the most familiar and most outstanding examples of a bird that more than  qualifies to be a national bird, seen at the top of this post.  It was way back in 1782 when the bald eagle was proposed and quickly accepted  as the national bird for the newly formed United States of America, It was chosen as a symbol of authority and power – attributes that have been evident since Roman Times. It soon became iconic.

The bald eagle I met was named Adonis – his regal bearing so evident despite his tragic story. In 1995 Adonis was a shooting victim, despite the fact that it is illegal not only to harm an eagle, under the Bald Eagle Protection Act, but also to even possess a feather – only the First Nations indigenous people are allowed that honor.

Adonis’ left wing was so badly damaged that it unfortunately needed to be amputated. Undaunted, Adonis sits regally upon his perch and surveys all with a proud demeanor at his protected home in the 200 acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. What fierce beauty and strength.


Our Central American neighbor, Costa RIca is awash in  magnificent birds- there are over 850 species which represents over 10 percent of the world’s total.  I have seen eye popping beauties, from  iridescent  hummingbirds:

to big beaked aracari’s:

to stunning macaws:


But the deciding factor that clinched the national bird title in 1977 was the song of the clay colored thrush.

The thrush is ubiquitous in Costa Rica, and is quite a common looking bird:

Here is the song of the clay colored thrush – see if you agree that this beats the attributes of the other Costa Rican birds I mentioned:

More national birds next week



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