A good excuse to repost my favorite Golden Eagle photo.
1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in
As of three days ago when Governor Cox signed the bill into law, Utah has an official State Bird of Prey, the Golden Eagle. In my view there were many qualified candidates including various species of hawks, falcons and owls but for lots of reasons I think the Golden Eagle was a fine choice.
The Utah Legislature certainly could have done worse and they have in the past. For reasons unique to Utah our State Bird is the California Gull, a bird named after another state. In the official list of Utah State Symbols they didn’t even get the name right, calling it the California Seagull rather than its proper name, California Gull. The vast majority of our legislators (89 of 103 in 2021) are Mormons, who these days have a mini hissy fit when they’re referred to as “Mormons” rather than “Latter-day Saints”, which is now the officially preferred name. I guess it’s only important to get the name right when it’s yours.
If you ask me the Utah Legislature has made some pretty weird choices when it comes to its State Symbols. In a nod to special interest groups and an environment-destroying industry our State Rock is… Coal. We have a State Cooking Pot named after another country – Dutch Oven, a State Railroad Museum (what’s with that?) – Ogden Union Station and a State Firearm – the John M. Browning designed M1911 automatic pistol.
But keep in mind, this is the same Utah Legislature that yesterday overrode Governor Cox’s veto of the transgender athletes sports ban. When it comes to the Utah Legislature, the bar is low.
To end on a more positive note, in 2019 the Gila Monster became our official State Reptile and the Brine Shrimp has been proposed as our State Crustacean. Perhaps that latter choice will provide some much-needed momentum in the effort to save the Great Salt Lake.