Benjamin Franklin is a name undoubtedly associated with the foundation of the United States. When the new republic was founded, it was decided that its national bird should be the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and it was adopted as such in 1782. There is a common legend - though nobody seems sure where it sprang from - that Franklin opposed the use of this bird as a state symbol, feeling the turkey should be used instead.
The origin of this legend cannot be traced with certainty. He did, however, express the opinion a couple of years later privately that the Bald Eagle was the wrong bird to choose because of its scavenging nature and cowardly behavior.
The Bald Eagle, however, was revered by the Native Americans.