eagle,Image created by Hope Rutledge

   For those who are wondering if it's true that an aging eagle can go into seclusion, pluck out all of its feathers, shed its beak and talons, and then grow new ones in X number of days; subsequently, becoming renewed and living longer....It's a myth! Perhaps, the "eagle renewal myth/legend" was derived from a biblical metaphor.
   Both science and logic indicate an eagle can not survive for any length of time without his/her feathers, beak and talons. Exposure and starvation would overcome the eagle long before a physical renewal could occur. An eagle's beak and talons grow continuously, because they are made of keratin, the same substance as our hair and fingernails. Eagles molt in patches, taking almost half a year to replace feathers, starting with the head and working downward. Not all feathers are replaced in a given molt.

Biblical metaphors: A figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in "A mighty fortress is our God" or "Carried on eagle's wings."

Eagles do not carry their young. A bald eagle's lifting power is about 4 pounds. At 10 to 13 weeks, eaglets are as large as the parents as well as fully fledged for a first flight, enabling them leave the nest.

   The Comanche's myth of eagle creation began when the young son of a chief died and was turned into the first eagle as an answer to his father's prayers. The Comanche eagle dance celebrates this legend.

   Native North Americans believed the thunderbird, a mythical super eagle, was responsible for creating thunder and lightning by beating its wings.

   The Pawnee believed the eagle to be a symbol of fertility because they build large nests high off the ground and valiantly protect their young. They honored the eagle with songs, chants, and dance.

   The information and photos on this web site may be used for student projects as long as neither are placed on other websites. The photographs are copyrighted by Hope Rutledge, the owner and author of the American Bald Eagle Information website, and are NOT available for other websites, photo galleries or commercial use of any kind.

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