THANK GOODNESS WE DIDN’T LISTEN TO BEN!
Yes, it is true that Benjamin Franklin championed the Turkey for our national symbol as opposed to the Bald Eagle. Ben actually called the Bald Eagle lazy, and said the Turkey was a ‘bird of courage.’ I for one am very grateful that Ben’s suggestion didn’t FLY! J
We, here in the US, have worked hard to insure that our symbol remains protected and free from threats. Our Bald Eagle is therefore doing very well. However, there is another Eagle that is critically endangered. The Philippine Eagle, also known as the Monkey-Eating Eagle (don’t worry, we’ll get to the ‘why’ for that name in a bit) is the subject of this week’s post.
According to ARKive.org, this impressive bird is the world’ largest Eagle. However, from what I have read, in the bird world size is based on particular criteria such as wingspan or weight. Even height is considered when ranking eagles. The Philippine Eagle has a wingspan of up to seven feet, can stand up to three feet high, and can weigh as much as seventeen pounds. The below picture will give you an idea of just how big this bird is. Anyway you look at it, this is a very large bird.
Photo credit: http://Carnivoraforum.com
The Philippine Eagle is endemic to the Philippines. It is found on parts of the larger island of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. Although it was widespread throughout the Philippine Islands at one point in time, its numbers have dropped severely. It is now believed that there are less than 250 mature individuals living.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
For all my young friends who read my blog, the Philippine Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, north of Australia.
As we have already stated, the Philippine Eagle is critically endangered, and there are active programs to help reintroduce this bird to the jungles of the Philippines. A breeding program is ongoing in Davao, in the Southern Philippines at the Eagle Foundation Conservation Center. Below is a picture of one of the residents at this center. His name is Mindanao. The main reason for the critically endangered status is habitat destruction.
In 1965, a Philippine ornithologist, (a person who studies birds) named Dioscoro S. Rabor brought the issue of diminishing numbers of this bird to Philippine and international attention. Shortly afterward, Charles Lindbergh, who was a representative of the World Wildlife Fund, helped to persuade the government of the Philippines to protect the eagle. The Eagle was finally declared the national bird of the Philippines in 1995. It is now illegal to kill one of these birds.
The Philippine Eagle is a raptor. Raptors include, eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and vultures. They all hunt by sight and have powerful talons for grasping their prey, and strong, sharp beaks for tearing meat. The Philippine Eagle hunts by sight from the tops of trees. It will eat small mammals such as, lemurs, rats, snakes, and yes, according to many of the sites I visited to create this post, it will eat monkeys. It simply snatches them from trees.
Photograph by: Klaus Nigge, National Geographic March 2008
There truly are few words that can describe this splendid bird. Considering the current status of this bird’s habitat, I think National Geographic said it best; The Philippine Eagle is a King without a Kingdom.
I have found a video for you that shows the beauty of the Philippine Eagle.
If you want to learn more about the Philippine Eagle, visit the following sites:
I hope you enjoyed visiting Australian Fantasy Adventures, and learning a bit about the Philippine Eagle. Please share my post with the children in your family and your friends. Come back again next week for a look at another unusual or endangered animals.
My sincere thanks to ARKive.org for some of the information and pictures.
Jeanne E. Rogers, Author
The Sword of Demelza, an Award Winning Middle Grade Fantasy
Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!