As you can read below from today’s Writer’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin thought the noble turkey would make a more appropriate national bird than the pesky bald eagle. Here at Applewood Lodge, we’ve yet to see an eagle, but a half dozen resident gobbling, wobbling turkeys peck their way past my library window here every day.
On this day in 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter saying that he was not pleased about the choice of bald eagle as the symbol of America. He wished it had not been chosen as a “representative of our country” because, he said, it is a “Bird of bad moral Character.” Franklin wrote about the eagle: “Like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy.”

There was a different fowl that Franklin championed as a true representative of the budding United States: “The Turkey,” he wrote 227 years ago today, “is a much more respectable Bird, and … a true original Native of America.”