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SEPTEMBER 2008

TECUMSEH

GEORGE BUCKLAND'S AMERICAN BALD EAGLE

Tecumseh, George Buckland's American Bald Eagle

Ohio's restoration program has brought the American Bald Eagle back from the brink. With only four nesting pairs along Lake Erie's southern shoreline 27 years ago, the bald eagle population has grown to a record 150 eagle nests in 2006. Last year, 194 eaglests were hatched from 116 nests. Through habitat restoration, a ban on dangerous pesticides, and a cleaner Lake Erie, bald eagles have been observed in 70 of Ohio's 88 counties.

During the 19th century, eagles were a common sight throughout Ottawa and Sandusky Counties and near the Sandusky Bay. Many pioneers kept them as pets. "Fremont Journal" editor Isaac Keeler had two eaglets that he kept in cages built especially for them.

Among the papers of George Buckland, youngest son of General Ralph P. Buckland of Fremont, Ohio, are several photographs of "Tecumseh," his American bald eagle. With the photographs, he included a brief story about "Tecumseh," who was unable to fly because of a broken wing.

October 1889

One day as I was driving with the deputy sheriff near the lak[e] shore (Lake Erie), [I} saw this eagle tied to the fence beside the road a, most miserable looking specimen - the deputy said that is a hawk. Oh, no I said it is an eagle. The man came out of the house and verified my guess. I offered the man a dollar if he would bring it in to me and much to my surprise next day he came with the eagle, in a very small box - tail sticking up one side. I rushed down town, secured a le[a]ther band for its leg and a long chain and fastened it to the but[t] of a cannon which was in the yard and took him out and placed him under the oak tree on the lawn - the[n] got some fish, fed the famished bird, turned the hose on him and soon had him in fine condition.

He was a very grateful bird and grew very tame and docile. I could put my finger in his mouth and he would follow me about like a dog. he would not allow every one to be familiar with him and bit my brother Horace [Buckland] when he tried it. We had an old corn crib where we kept him at night, but we were afraid for the children in the neighborhood so [1] took him over to the Soldiers Home at Sandusky, O[hio]. I carried him under my arm on the train. Gen. [Manning] Force met us with the carriage and with Tecumseh between us road [sp] out to the O[hio] S[oldiers] and S[ailors] Home. He had the freedom of their large grounds, but as he had a broken wing was at a disadvantage and one night was killed by some prowling animal.