Few birds enjoy the stature that the bald eagle has attained in the United States. It adorns our national seal, several denominations of currency, and T-shirts from coast to coast, with bonded pairs nesting everywhere from the National Arboretum to Dollywood. But not even 100 years ago, the bald eagle was hunted to the verge of extinction even while it was celebrated as a majestic symbol of independence. Children were taught that it was a threat to society or, worse, that it might kidnap and devour them. And just when we began to right our wrongs with the passage of the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, we nearly killed off our national symbol again with DDT. Pulitzer Prize–winner Jack E. Davis swoops through five centuries of history to tell the bird’s improbable story in The Bald Eagle.
Go beyond the episode:
- Jack E. Davis’s The Bald Eagle
- Peep bald eagle nest cams across the country
- Smarty Pants loves birds: meet the caracara and the ravens of the Tower of London
- Read Erik Anderson’s story of how a beguiling South American hummingbird ended up in the basement of a Pennsylvania museum
- Watch Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest, a 1908 silent short that dramatizes the (impossible) fear of an eagle carrying off a child
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.
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