Saturday, February 18, 2012

The mystery of Washington's Eagle

The "great eagle"
No less an authority than Audubon described a giant species of North American eagle, similar in appearance to an immature bald eagle but with some anatomical differences as well as a difference in size. The now-lost type specimen, which Audubon shot himself after having seen this eagle four times in the wild, was a meter tall with a wingspan of 3.1m.  As Karl Shuker recounts it, authorities contemporary with Audubon accepted the species, and some reported seeing it themselves.  An occasional report of a giant eagle still surfaces.  Is America's largest raptor extinct, or still, just possibly, hanging on? 


omegaman66 said...

Do they even have any feathers or something left over? DNA would probably answer this question and show that it was just a bald eagle or golden eagle.

Matt Bille said...

Shuker reports there were several specimens identified as Washington's eagle, but no one can locate any of them. It may be a mystery for all time.