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Rebirth of the Eagle aka False Load of Crap

The Rebirth of the Eagle PowerPoint is the latest “wondrous” bird thing hitting email inboxes. Not since the movie Caracara have I been so blown away with such blatant lies being made about an animal’s natural history. The Caracara movie was where the lead actress was a falconer who had a rare bird to hunt with…a caracara…which looked remarkably like a Harris hawk…that she kept in a parrot cage…and would let loose to hunt from her Manhattan high rise…at night…

But I digress!

I’m not sure where this PowerPoint originated, there’s not much up on Snopes yet (the urban legend debunking website) but I’m sure it’s a matter of time until it is there. From what I’m able to gather, this was a presentation given at a church about change and rebirth, but somehow has made its way onto the web and people are passing this info off as true. Don’t believe me, The Raptor Center has been getting emails asking if it’s a true story. The worst part is that some “religious” sites have put it up and when people comment that the information is wrong, incorrect, inaccurate, a load of bull, etc. The web operators reply with “well, you’re not an eagle expert, so we can’t trust your info.” Grrrrrrrrrrr. So, I’m going to post it here with the notes as to why it’s wrong and links to where it’s appropriate.

Let’s assume they are talking about bald eagles and not golden eagles or any other eagle species.

Okay, I can find NO records of a bald eagle living to be 70 years old. According to the Bird Banding Lab, the oldest bald eagle documented in the wild was 30 years old and 9 months. I’ve tried to look up the oldest bald eagle in captivity, but I can find records of eagles living 21 – 47 years. I can say at The Raptor Center, we have an education bald eagle that was admitted as a first year bird in 1983.

And, the only decisions a bald eagle needs to make are: Can I kill and or eat that? Can I mate with or drive that out of my territory? I wonder if that tree would make a good nest? I wonder how many eggs we should try to hatch this year?

I’ve yet to meet any eagle, hawk, owl or falcon that has “flexible talons”. The talons are always hard and they are always curved.

Whoa! Hey! What’s that, we were talking bald eagles and now all of a sudden this is a golden eagle? You can’t just switch species like that? Yes, that is a golden, not an immature bald eagle–note the golden hackle feathers (feathers on the back of the head and neck) and for the record, this process doesn’t happen with any eagle species or ANY real life bird. Anyway, it reads that “Its’ long and sharp beak becomes curved.” Um…has ANYONE EVER seen an eagle with a straight and pointy beak like you would see on a heron?? NO! Eagles are raptors, two of the characteristics that make a raptor are sharp, curved talons and a strong curved beak.

Oh, hey, look at that, we’re back to a bald eagle again. The only time birds feathers get stuck to their chest is when the bird has been involved in an oil spill. They molt out old feathers every year and grow in new ones. Honest, birds get new feathers every year.

No. This doesn’t happen and they don’t have to make that decision. Apart from molting into adult plumage, eagles do not go through a process of change. And they don’t have a choice, they attain adult plumage in five to seven years if they want to or not.

Oh! Another golden eagle again. The only time eagles sit in their nests is to incubate eggs, brood young, or just do some remodeling. It’s not someplace they hang out when there is nothing else better to do or if they have to go through some sort of fictitious change.

Let’s just deal with the logistics of that sentence. The eagle is knocking its beak against a rock but it still manages to “pluck it out”. If a bird did this, it would die. It wouldn’t be able to tear and rip its meat in order to swallow it. Eagles and other birds will rub their beak against a hard surface to help wear it down. Like our fingernails, eagle beaks are constantly growing. Sometimes the vets at The Raptor Center have to trim beaks because they can get too long.

Again, this is not a survivable injury (unless the bird is force fed by wildlife rehabbers). If it waits for a missing beak to grow back, it will starve to death. Why am I justifying this, they don’t pluck it out to begin with! Arrrrgh. An eagle’s talons are the same, they are like our finger nails–they are constantly growing, they do not need to be plucked out.

No, eagles do not pluck out their old feathers. They go through a natural molting process. Did we go through this already?

An eagle that has not been hunting and eating for five months is a dead eagle and certainly not capable of living for another 30 years.

And you may have gone through this with me and thought, “Seriously, Sharon, did you really need to post this and explain that it’s not true.” Yes. People are forwarding this and asking, “This isn’t true is it?” Here’s a link to a blog with just the text and the blog writer seems to think this true. Sheesh.

Now, I’m all for taking some artistic license for a good story but this is just bad. It makes me mad when someone has to make up BS about an animal when their natural history and facts are cool enough on their own.

*UPDATE: Snopes does have an entry up now. I first heard about this at The Raptor Center on Tuesday and the woman who wrote the response from TRC on Snopes showed me the letter. I had no idea at the time that it was going on Snopes.

56 comments to Rebirth of the Eagle aka False Load of Crap

  • Stacey

    LMAO at the slideshow. I think I love you. Seriously. ;)

  • Helena

    I am not an eagle expert. I am an avid bird watcher and among my friends considered a bird and wildlife expert but it’s not like I’d have to be to see how inaccurate this is. What kind of crap is this??? I mean, seriously. I don’t know why this ticks me off so much but it does. It’s just ignorance. And when people say things like “well how would you know?” or “you are not an eagle expert so I can’t be sure your info is correct” that really just…..ARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!! THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE SUCH PHONY B.S.! I hate when people get all uppity about their “facts” when it is so blatantly WRONG! Really! And as for whoever made up the powerpoint presentation, you can’t just make sh*t up about an already cool bird, like you said! You can’t just pull crap out of your behind!! GRRRR…

  • Owlman

    I received this PPT and fell on the floor laughing! The sad thing is that the whole presentation makes no point at all, unless the point is rebirth is painful. Like you said if there was a Bart Simpson eagle out there that tried this it would be a dead eagle.

  • N8

    The facts are weird, but what really bothers me is the continued incorrect use of its’. What is that apostrophe doing at the end there? What does it mean? Its’ nuts’!!

  • Lemur

    Okay, seriously? What a load. However, what bugs JUST AS MUCH as the eagle misinformation? The constant, unceasing, use of “its’” throughout the deck. “Its’” is NEVER RIGHT! Either “its” for the posessive, or it’s for “it is”. NEVER “Its’” Aieee!
    It’s plain to see that this rebirth story thing has all of its facts wrong.
    See how easy it is to do it right?

    Go get ‘em, Birdchick!

  • Mike Hendrickson

    Why would you allow this story to bother you so much and why do feel you need to respond?

    Ok its entertaining and if some people believe this eagle change is real than let them. If some people want to believe in the Easter bunny than fine let them. If some people believe in Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster or other creatures them let them. If your husband wants to believe he is a level 10 dwarf with a battle ax in some mythical world, then let him.

    I could carelss.

  • Jill

    When you posted this earlier I thought that it was a joke and that the “big decision” was to sit on a flag pole or atop public buildings. Sorry it was early.

    It’s all just so bizarre.

  • BunnyKissd

    Man… I can’t believe how close-minded and ignorant some people are…

  • Maureen

    LOL@ Jill’s comment.

    I don’t even understand the point of this. I thought there would be some grand, overdramatized moral worked in there but no… just stupidity.

    The apostrophe thing drove me nuts too. When I’d look at the next screen my brain would scream NO! NOT AGAIN! DON’T MAKE ME LOOK!!! AAARGH!!!

  • A.

    Auuuugggghhhh!

    The’ apostrophe’ abuse’ hurts’ my’ eyes’!

    ~other Sharon’

  • KatDoc

    What the F—? This is the goofiest thing I have ever seen, and it doesn’t even have any sort of “moral” to the story to justify the complete pack of lies it contains. Why ever would you need to make up stuff about a bird (or animal, or anything in Nature) when the truth is so utterly cool?

    Put me down with the people who gagged every time the non-word Its’ was used. Incorrect apostrophication (See, I can invent words, too!) drives me bonkers!

    ~Kathi

  • Beth

    Oh my, that is too bizarre. I would like to think that any thinking person would find, at the very least, a bird losing its (not its’) bill for five months impossible. What would it do in the meantime? Fix itself a liquid diet while it sits in its nest and ponders its “rebirth?”

    And, yes, the repetitive apostrophe fault is incredibly irritating.

  • LindaG

    Oh I agree wholeheartedly — total idiocy that demonstrates the stupidity of its maker not only in the obvious untruths about the bird (some bird, multiple birds, who knows), but the horrendous apostrophic abuse. Fiends in subhuman form, I say — off with their heads!

  • DMBY

    The apostrophe thing made me want to rip my beak and feathers off too! Oh, wait. . .

    :)

  • Susan Gets Native

    Someone from RAPTOR sent this to me so I would know what the Hell people were talking about when they asked me about the “rebirth” of eagles.
    I was torn between laughing at the lunacy and being really pissed that someone would make such a farce as this.

    But I love Kathi’s new word….apostrophication.

  • birdchick

    L to O to L!!

    I love the readers of this blog! I go out to see a movie and come home to like 15 comments–mostly about punctuation. I have such dicey punctuation to begin with that I didn’t pay that close attention to the “apostrophication” (kudos to katdoc!).

    Now, I have to scrub off about five pounds of makeup. We went to a preview of Sweeney Todd and MAC was there offering free Sweeney Todd makeovers…my goth self from high school would so be loving the look I’ve got now.

  • molly

    Weird, it sounds like someone liked the idea of the phoenix but thought it was too mythical, and decided to rework it to make it seem more “real.” Except they totally failed.

  • Amy

    Excellent fisking!

    And thankGOODness I’m not the only one who felt assaulted by the misused apostrophes.

    Shaz, you did take a photo of your MAC makeover before washing off the makeup, right? Please?

  • spacedlaw

    I’ll second Amy’s please…

    I see why this irritates you but REALLY you should not get stupidities like this get under your skin.
    Well. Maybe except for the apostrophe thingy.

  • millionbells

    Anon,

    The problem isn’t that people believe this, it’s that other people are asking bird experts if eagles really regrow their nose and mouth and feet after removing them. Maybe this post will head off a few of those questions.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the point of the story?! Even if it were true, which we know it’s (notice the correct placement of the apostrophe) not, what’s the point?!?!?

  • dguzman

    Wow. I just — wow. WTF. wow. I am completely bewildered by this whole thing. Is it some kind of joke? A bird (any bird, much less a bald eagle–or golden eagle–whichevah!) that “plucks” out its own beak????

    Wow. I could feel your anger and frustration in every analyzed frame of this farce. Wow.

    God, I really WANT someone to ask me about this, so that I can point to that person and say with absolute certainty: “You really are as dumb as a stump!”

  • Danielle

    ditto what dguzman said. Wow. I mean, WTF?! I haven’t gotten it yet, but I have no doubt my crazy ex-stepmom will be sending it along any day now. And, as others have said, apostrophes anyone? (on a sidenote, I’m ready to “pluck my eyes out” every time I visit “the ‘blog’ of ‘unnecessary’ quotation marks” (http://quotation-marks.blogspot.com/)

  • Liz Jones

    Ai yi yi.
    At least I can point senders to your blog until Snopes gets this one online.
    Who comes up with this stuff?
    And what, exactly *is* the religious message? I mean, usually, I can figure out the angle, but this one has me completely stumped. Perhaps the author has a brain injury which predisposes him to love metaphors, but have no idea how to assemble one?

  • birdchick

    I’m all for using birds in Sunday services. I’ve actually given raptor programs to Sunday Schools and even at a Seminary (scary thought–no?) and you can do some power stuff, but I’m just irked when people make up stuff when the actual natural history is very cool.

  • Ecobirder

    I think that a lot of people are making a lot more out of this then is necessary. First off I do not think that anyone of us know the context for which the presentation was originally created. Perhaps the person who created it told the people who they were presenting it to that it was not factual and was just a metaphor for how sometimes we need to endure drastic change in our lives in order for our lives to continue in a positive direction.

    People frequently use stories that are not based on fact to illustrate a point. Such as a star falling from the sky that becomes a woman who shows a young man that the woman that he has always coveted is not what he really wants. Would an astronomer get angry that Mr. Gaiman has his facts all wrong? Would they point out that there is no evidence of a falling star ever becoming a woman?

    In my opinion the best way to handle this issue is like The Raptor Center has as was quoted on Snopes .com. (http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/eaglerebirth.asp) That is to educate people with out passing judgment. Point out the facts with out disrespect for their religion or beliefs.

    As far as the grammar problems go I can not say anything because my spelling and grammar are terrible.

  • Carolyn H

    This weird eagle PowerPoint is the weirdest thing I’ve seen today–and that’s saying something.

    Carolyn H.
    http://roundtoprumings.blogspot.com

  • The Life of Mel

    I personally was very interested in this and read the whole thing in “its’” entirety. The bad grammar and punctuation almost overshadowed the gross ignorance.
    I am no expert birder, or really even a novice (I just love them) but I could guess this was not true. Most people, I guess, can not take that leap and believe all teh interwebz has to offer.

    Thank you so much for going through this detail–If I ever see this come my way, I will be responding with a link to YOUR site!

  • The Life of Mel

    I want to respond to something above–if a book is listed in the “Fiction” section, then no, no one should get upset that there is indeed “Fiction” contained therein.

    However, this is being presented to people as fact, and especially if it is out of context (which it must be now), people should be able to find the info to show that is is incorrect, or the myth will be perpetuated.

    I’m glad Sharon felt the need to respond, because now I’m aware of it too, and can make sure people like my mother (who, bless her, will send every email as fact to me, saying, “There’s a PRINCE! In Nigeria!!! And he needs MY help to get OUT!”) are informed correctly.

  • kd

    I also nearly fell off my chair laughing. (I do see the importance of correcting the info, however…) I think the best thing would be to send it to the Colbert Report (you know he “loves” eagles) and have it held up to national ridicule!

  • kd

    Also, just checked, Snopes did add a page as of today, quoting the Raptor Center on the facts about Bald Eagles and molting, etc.

  • Andromeda

    As I read through this I thought that it was a joke and that when the bird was “reborn” it would turn into something like Hillary or Obama or something funny.
    People will believe anything if it is on the internet. The same people get their bank accounts and identity stolen by the false emails that abound.
    We can hope these folks don’t breed…LOL

  • Sam

    Oh dear. I think I ripped out my talons just reading that BS.

  • ChicagoLady

    I can’t stop laughing at all the comments. The story of the bald eagle plucking it’s beak out and pulling it’s talons out was funny and downright stupid, but the comments put me over the edge.

  • Ecobirder

    “I want to respond to something above–if a book is listed in the “Fiction” section, then no, no one should get upset that there is indeed “Fiction” contained therein.

    However, this is being presented to people as fact, and especially if it is out of context (which it must be now), people should be able to find the info to show that is is incorrect, or the myth will be perpetuated.”

    The problem is things on the internet do not come with a handy fiction or non-fiction label and much of what we read on the internet is fiction. We can all agree that the story is fiction but the question is whether or not this is presented as fact. It is possible that some people who are sending this out via e-mail are representing it as fact. I have not received an e-mail about it and I do not know anyone else who have. If people are representing it as fact through e-mail then e-mail them back with the true facts.

    On the website that was linked in the original post the author does not present the story as fact. She states, “I received a powepoint presentation on the rebirth of the eagle which is indeed meaningful and apt for me as I moved on to another stage of my life.” Is it wrong for her to find a fictional story meaningful?

    The original presentation, at least as far back as I can track it, appears to have been posted to slideshare.net, a Utube type website for Powerpoint presentations, by a man from India. He has 39 slideshow presentations on the site and many of them are metaphoric and appear to be fictional stories meant to teach a message and not facts. A couple of examples of other presentations that he has that are fictional are 10 things god won’t ask you on that day and Albert Einstein- Does evil exist. If you would like to go see for yourself the site address is http://www.slideshare.net/targetseo/slideshows. Interestingly he also has a great slideshow of pictures of the Minneapolis bridge collapse with a lot of pictures which I have never seen.

    So I glad that Sharon set the record straight and pointed out the facts so that people do not think that this myth is true but we all have to be careful not to judge or disrespect people who are more concerned about the message in the slide show.

  • The Life of Mel

    “The problem is things on the internet do not come with a handy fiction or non-fiction label and much of what we read on the internet is fiction. “

    I totally agree.
    I just wanted to point out the flaw in comparing a book about a fallen star that does have a label of “Fiction” to this presentation that is obviously not fact, but can more easily be contrued as fact (because we know eagles are real) :). It’s apples vs. oranges, in my opinion.
    I also believe that no disrespect was intended for the people who this message (which is a great one) was meant for, but I did find humor in it, as others might find meaning. And in that, I don’t think either one of us are wrong.

    We all take away what we want from life, I think, and that’s why we’re human. :)

  • Holly

    better than any cleansing nuthatch photo – that is freaking hilarious!

  • Marty Phillips

    As a person who does devotionals using nature and how many things we can learn from nature this bothers me. If this power point came from a church as a Christian I say “Shame on them!” Nature is cool enough without making stuff up!
    Research the truth even more if you are doing a discussion in church.
    Marty

  • Helena

    I’ve gotten over my anger and now just find this hilarious

  • BlueNight

    The earliest record I could find was the church father Augustine, who exaggerated the significance of an eagle rubbing its beak like we would use a nail file, in order to make a spiritual analogy.

    I will be posting my research results at my blog, The God-Shaped Hole.

    Two more embellishments can be found:

    An oil sack grows over the eagle’s heart while its beak is growing back in, and when its beak is back it pops the sack and covers its new feathers in the oil.

    Other eagles watch over it, giving it food and keeping predators away.

  • BlueNight

    Here are the results of my research on the myth of the eagle’s restoration. I hope it’s informative. Feel free to post comments in response; I’m not a bird expert by any means. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! :)

  • Anonymous

    This sort of thing is terrible. All of the immature eagles will be confused. I hope they don’t try your power point advice in a bid for immortality.

  • Jacob

    LOL I was actually trying to find this on snopes and ran across your site. Thank you for posting this. The person who sent this to me obviously believes it as fact and I was looking for a link to send back.

    Good Stuff!

  • Anonymous

    After receiving Rebirth of An Eagle as email. I’m a African-American city chick and know shinola about eagles, but even so, I almost peed my pants laughing. Since I always research anything I forward I came online to see if truth is stranger than insanity, and found your disclaimer which makes a lot more sense. Thanks for setting the record straight.

  • Christopher

    I have the disturbing news that this is not the only piece of false eagle lore I have heard in churches. On more than one occasion I have listened to otherwise credible pastors launch into a story about how eagles carry their young on their back to teach them to fly. Not a credible story either, now is it?

    It’s no wonder these wildlife (vs. urban) legends make the rounds when 30-50% of Americans subscribe to the creationist version of natural history that precludes naturalist (and informed) explanations of biology.

    There you go.

  • Curtis

    Hello… thanks so much for your blog!

    I wanted to share something with you about this subject. I was intrigued about this when I heard a well known AG pastor preach it at a Pastor’s conference a few years ago (I listened to it on a CD ). So, I decided to check the internet for any further information of the actual “molting process” of an eagle, rather than the metaphorical sense for which it is currently used in sermons of this type. I was surprised to find that there is virtually no information on the internet that supports the idea that an eagle goes through this sort of a process.

    So, I decided to contact several eagle-related wildlife organizations to find more information (I think the Raptor Center was one of them). I received about 7 responses, and without exception, every single one of them told me that the “molting process” typically referred to by Christian ministries is a MYTH. Eagles in fact molt their feathers exactly the same as all other birds… a few at a time over the course of their entire life. They do not go through a period where other eagles help them out by feeding them, and they certainly don’t ever lose their beak… if they did, they would not be able to eat. One of the responses was from an eagle trainer who takes his work very seriously, and he was very angry that this MYTH is being presented as fact.

    So again, thanks for posting this!!!

  • Penny Lady

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU For making a post about this…seriously. This is another reason I value skepticism. This whole thing just SHOCKED me…what the HELL?

  • Anonymous

    Hi, To you who laugh and discuss, or fell down from your chair;

    I got this email today and I enjoyed.

    I didn’t believe it and started to search to see if it is true but What I got was that it is not true.

    Anyway, to the people who laughed at it or discussing about the eagle rebirth:

    It is not a true story about the eagle rebirth but it is about the need to rebirth for living in a new life.

    There is a story about Buda who was pointing to the moon to show something to the people and many of the people started to discuss about his finger. You are doing the same. The purpose of this story is not to add your knowledge about zoology or birds It had been intended to inspire your feeling to another extend of life. And how poor that we are so limited ourselves that can just see what we want in a life that any thing is possible.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not religious neither believed in fiction, And as I said the story is not true but the concept of it in human life is TRUE!

    So stick on your chair and don’t fall and think a little more deep before falling down!

    Good luck friends.

  • Anonymous

    My preacher actually preached this “sermon” last night. I doubted it and decided to research it and thanks for putting this on the web.

  • StevieB

    The information first appears in an article written by Father Robert McQueeney. He himself read the information in an article about eagles found in a library.He neither states the type of eagle, although confirms it is one from Africa, nor does he say exactly where he sourced his information from. The article that he had read seemed to claim this renewal happened every seven years. Unfortunately Father McQueeney died in 2002 so it seems unlikely we’ll be able to verify where he sourced his information from. His article is found at http://www.padrepio.com/easter98.html