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Do Eagles Rip Their Beaks Off?

My mom loves email chains. Like, loves ’em. I assume she must have a network of friends that all pass these things in circles, because I get several a day, and some are repeats. This is usually how it works:

Read email, Google validity, confirm skepticism, break news to mom.

I don’t blame her, she hasn’t had tons of exposure to the Internet. So she doesn’t understand how or why someone would make up a story about a dog that saved 967 people from the twin towers.

This email in particular though, was pretty awesome. It’s an inspirational story about how every Bald Eagle goes through a butterfly-like metamorphosis to extend its life by 30 years. The transformation begins with a jolly session of self-mutilation, followed by a death-defying period of starvation. The highlight of it all being when the eagles slam their faces into the rocks until they rip their own beaks off.

By the end of the email, I’m creeped out, and I suppose maybe a little inspired. But mainly I’m stunned that people are passing this around without questioning its absurdity. I mean, I definitely enjoyed the read, but I prefer to assume that one of my mom’s immediate friends wrote it, rather than think thousands of people are sending this out, with new-found expertise in Eagle physiology. According to Snopes it’s been fooling people for 5 years.

So mom, sorry to break it to you, but this one is fake. The good news is, you met the 10-friend forwarding requirement that keeps you from having bad luck. I googled that too. That part is true. So good job.

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  • Spapagan

    At least I got the good luck – right?   
    It’s kind of sad to receive your heart-breaking e-mails which tell me these triumphant stories, are in fact, just lies.
    It actually makes me sad and I think it’s mean for people to make this stuff up.  So, in an effort to keep on believing in the happy and inspiring stories I read through my e-mail chains, I’ve taken you off my share list.
    You obviously don’t appreciate the magic (and the lies) as much as I do! So there.
    I still love you though, Mom :)

    • No, don’t take me off the list! They are the best. I’ll keep the truth to myself next time :)

  • Blum401

    In regard to the possibility of a close personal friend of your mothers, to create these masterpieces, only one friend comes to mind! I don’t think I need mention any names here but you know him as 
    I, also appreciate the magic of ones ability to create such questionable but inspiring yarns
    Something your GREAT Grandfather would say is 
    “Don’t believe anything you hear 
    only half of what you see
    and remember a piece of paper will just “lie” there and let you write anything you want to on it.”love ya, Auntie

    • If Mr. Sutherland had written it, it would have become truth.

  • Nathan Vonnahme

    I hadn’t seen that totally kitschy slide show before, but the idea of the eagle “renewing its youth” goes back through medieval science to some of the earliest literature we have, and is perhaps related to the Phoenix meme which goes back to even older oral traditions. So it’s a lot more than 5 years. And I wonder how it started or persisted this long?