Bird stories, Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Among the Dakotah Indians there is a deluge legend to the effect that when the flood came, all the Indians, hoping to escape, fled to a hilltop, but were finally overwhelmed, all but one woman, who was borne away by a great eagle, her father swooping down, and carried to a high mountain. She afterward became the mother of twins, who perpetuated the race.

The Ancient Roman Eagle wages continual war with the wren and the tree creeper, the latter of which troubles him sorely, inasmuch as, when he knows that the eagle is absent from the nest, he enters it and breaks all the eggs.

An Italian tale tell us that The Eagles Stone, which was supposed to be found in the nest of an eagle, was red, or black spotted with yellow in colour, and believed to bring good fortune to the lucky possessor, also to be of sovereign virtue in cases of pregnancy.


There is an old English legend that when the bird begins to feel advancing age it plunges into the sea or into a fountain, from which it rises with new life and strength. But when it delays the operation too long it has not strength to rise from the water, and is frequently drowned.

The eye of the eagle is so quick that the expression eagle-eyed has become an English proverbial. It was believed that she could gaze upon the sun, undazzled and compelled her young to stand the test before they were fledged, to prove if they were degenerate or not.

The tradition is that the Aztecs, a northern Nahuatl tribe, escaping from the tyranny of the dominant Chiche-mecas, moved about A. D. 1325 into the valley of Mexico (Tenochtitlan), and settled upon certain islets in a marshy lake, the site of the subsequent City of Mexico; and this safe site is said to have been pointed out to them by a sign from their gods, an eagle perched upon a prickly-pear cactus, the nopal, in the act of strangling a serpent. This is the picture Cortez engraved on his Great Seal, and Mexico has kept it to this day.

This species was regarded with extreme veneration by the native redmen of this country. Its feathers composed the war-flag of the Creeks, and its image, carved in wood, or its stuffed skin, surmounted their council-lodges. None but an approved warrior dare wear it among the Cherokees, and the Dakotas allowed such an honor only to him who first touched the corpse of the common foe. The Natchez and other tribes regarded it almost as a deity. The Zuni of New Mexico employed four of its feathers to represent the four winds when invoking the raingod.


To the early Greeks the eagle was the messenger of Zeus. If, as asserted, it was the royal cognizance of the Etruscans, it came naturally to the Romans, by whom it was officially adopted for the Republic in 87 B. C, when a silver eagle, standing upright on a spear, its wings half raised, its head in profile to the left, and thunderbolts in its claws, was placed on the military standards borne at the head of all the legions in the army. This was in the second consulship of Caius Marius, who decreed certain other honors to be paid to the bird’s image in the Curia.

The most ancient recorded history of the human race is that engraved on the tablets and seals of chiefs who organized a civilization about the head of the Persian Gulf more than 4000 years before the beginning of the Christian era. These record by both text and pictures that the emblem of the Summerian city of Lagash, which ruled southern Mesopotamia long previous to its subjugation by Babylonia about 3000 B. C, was an eagle displayed, that is, facing us with wings and legs spread and its head turned in profile. This figure was carried by the army of Lagash as a military standard; but a form of it with a lion’s head was reserved as the special emblem of the Lagash gods, with which the royal house was identified, the king’s standard.

After hanging the head of Golden eagles and Lammergeier on the main entrance it is believed that the house is safe from evil.


Raju Acharya Sharma, 2006. STATUS OF HIMALAYAN GRIFFON Gyps himalayensis Hume, 1869 AND ETHNO-VULTURE RELATIONSHIP IN UPPER MUSTANG, NEPAL. Thesis report.

Ingersoll, Ernest, 1852-1946. Birds in legend, fable and folklore. New York, London Longmans, Green and co., 1923

Walker, Margaret Coulson. Bird legend and life. New York, The Baker & Taylor Company, 1908.

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