Bald-faced speculation on eagle rescue

Yesterday, I spotted this story and posted to the DN Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Freedom for two bald eagles after being trapped in Orlando drain: Bald eagle rescue creates traffic jam

eagles in storm drain

While it looks from the picture that one is protecting the other, it’s best not to jump to that conclusion. I sought out the best representation of what was actually going on. The story above had experts and facts without speculation. However… the metaphor of two symbols of America going down a drain was not lost on most people. Some news outlets, such as WPLG ABC 10 ran on speculative comment and outward appearance that this was a positive story. Yahoo was also one of those.


Yahoo, associated with Good Morning America, has a huge reach and they perpetuated the misinformation. You can see from the comments that people read way too much into this and came away with exactly the wrong impression.

The real story was that the birds were fighting, possibly over territory, and they apparently fell. They were not being caring towards each other (the metaphor is even stronger using these facts). Yahoo eventually changed the story (without a formal correction) to match the more accurate interpretation.

One eagle (of unknown sex) flew away, the other (female) was injured and taken to a wildlife rescue for care. It’s an interesting story that we don’t have to embellish or manipulate. But this is the way things are now. Facts don’t matter so much. News is entertainment and subjective. People won’t remember the correction, only the initial misinformation. So, this story really was, in multiple ways, an apt metaphor for America.

Here is a video of the events from the local news.

Thanks, Joy!

  3 comments for “Bald-faced speculation on eagle rescue

  1. Lagaya1
    November 11, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    I saw your facebook post on this and the other on Yahoo. Why can’t we just appreciate these beautiful animals for what they are without making them something they’re not. There is much in eagles’ behavior to admire, and one of those things may be their fierce protection of their territory. Trying to make them cuddly just won’t do, and is silly.

    Glad to see you back at it, Sharon!

  2. Lagaya1
    November 11, 2016 at 5:13 PM

    I shouldn’t have even said “admirable”. They just do what their nature requires of them to survive as a species.

  3. November 13, 2016 at 8:43 AM

    I’m always fascinated with how people anthropomorphize animal behaviors. I suppose it is a natural thing to do to try to attribute to animals the same motivations and behaviors we have, but it’s always a mistake to do so. When I first saw that photo what I saw was completely different from what Yahoo and others saw. I saw either an eagle attacking another, or trying to carry off carrion to eat later, which is something else these birds do. But then I grew up in the country, was a farmer, and spent a lot more time observing animal behaviors than the average person, I suppose.

    Trying to attribute human motivations to animals is always a mistake. We think domestic house cats are these cute, cuddly, playful animals when, in fact, pound for pound they are one of the most efficient killers on the planet. Their play response has nothing to do with play, but is instead a behavior that has evolved that keeps their reflexes sharp and helps develop their muscles to help them kill more efficiently.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t find their behaviors pleasing or even beneficial to us personally. I have three rescue cats and I love the little stinkers. But I know that their behaviors are part of their nature and have nothing to do with human emotions or human motivations.

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