Two men were being sought last week in eastern Long Island for shooting a bald eagle. Ornithologists say fewer than 100 of the rare birds still live in the northeastern part of the country, and there are stringent laws for their protection. The men could receive sentences of a year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
The Long Island eagle killing was apparently an isolated wanton act, but elsewhere, notably in Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas, hunting eagles for their feathers is part of a thriving black-market business. An undercover agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that in one instance he bought seven pairs of eagle wings for $302.82, a transaction so businesslike that the price included sales tax. He bought the wings in Ontario, where he was told they were part of a shipment of 29 sets of eagle wings that had come in from South Dakota. The dealer said eagle tails were going to a New York buyer for $30 each.
Buyers include Boy Scout leaders—apparently unaware that the feathers come from eagles—who use them for Indian headdresses in scout ceremonies. Items fashioned from eagle feathers are sold in curio shops in many parts of the West. Indian war bonnets, which require tail feathers from a dozen eagles or more, sell for prices ranging from $350 to $10,000, depending on size and quality. One war-bonnet maker in Montana says he sells as many as 10 a day to dealers at auctions in California.
The look of eagles, indeed.
You can talk all you want about ratings and TV criticism and who is a good sports announcer and who is a bad one, but the truth is, there is no clear, unquestioned standard of measurement. One man's Meredith is another man's Parseghian. The Touchdown Club of New York, a group of football devotees that includes coaches and athletic directors, as well as plain old fans, asked its membership to rate TV football broadcasters. More than 150 members responded. Their favorite announcer turned out to be Pat Summerall, with Chris Schenkel second. Keith Jackson and Lindsey Nelson were tied for third. Others in the top 10, in order, were Curt Gowdy, Frank Gifford, Bud Wilkinson, Tom Brook-shier, Jim Simpson and Don Meredith.
For the record, Alex Karras finished 16th, Howard Closely 17th. But what does the Touchdown Club know?
During one of his famous salary wars with the New York Yankees in the 1920s, Babe Ruth, defending his decision to hold out for what was then an enormous amount of money, argued that no man who works for another is going to be paid more than he's worth.