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The Right Eagle

In response to:

America the Bad? from the November 22, 1979 issue

To the Editors:

Professor C. Vann Woodward is a good historian but a poor ornithologist, and where ornithology touches history he errs. It is not, as he says (NYR, November 22, p. 14) the “golden eagle” which is “the appropriate symbol” of our national spirit; that symbol is, as I thought Professor Woodward and all American schoolchildren knew, the bald eagle. Please point this out to your readers and to the proofreader who should have corrected the error. The golden eagle is aquila chrysaetos; the bald eagle is haliaeetus leucocephalus and never the twain shall interbreed.

Martin Shockley

Department of English

North Texas State University

Denton, Texas

C Vann Woodward replies:

In matters of ornithology, I bow to Professor Shockley and salute his haliaeetus leucocephalus with apologies.

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