Thanksgiving Eagle, You Mean They Did Not Eat Turkey?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure page for more info.

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I thought I’d go light on the text and heavy on the picture with an infographic. I always assumed that some of the things we celebrate at Thanksgiving were things that have been altered or revised over the years. I know some people don’t like turkey, some in my family don’t. How do you think they’d react (being endangered and American mascot aside) to being served eagle for Thanksgiving?  In fact, some say that turkey was not even served the first year. I also can’t imagine it lasting for three days. We get enough of the food as it is, but can you imagine three days of feasting? Finally, while much has changed regarding the holiday over the years, I find it amusing that the Detroit Lions have always been, and still are hapless (no offense to Lions fans). I hope that everyone has a safe and satisfying Thanksgiving.

Some Thanksgiving Facts

Browse more data visualization.


What was the most surprising “fact’ that stands out to you from the Thanksgiving infographic? What traditions do you have that you celebrate on Thanksgiving?





The following two tabs change content below.
I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.


  • I like the concept of thanks giving, but this is yet another example of an event which it seems that only Americans take part in. I wish Australia had an equivalent day 🙁

  • lol, thats funny! I’m glad that we don’t have to eat eagle anymore. I really like turkey!!! I am also looking forward to sugar cream pie and this cheese dip stuff that my cousin makes. Have a great thanksgiving!!!

  • Catherine says:

    Yucky! Hope you and your family have a great Holiday!

  • Had no idea they did not eat Turkey! I’m glad we do today…tastes so good.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  • Veronica Hill says:

    Do we really know these to be fact? I’m always skeptical but the jingle bells “fact” caught me off guard. My favorite part of that graphic: “Gobble. The End” made me laugh for some reason. We don’t really have any special traditions that are family only, just do whatever pretty much. This year we’re not even cooking – going out. And by “we” I mean 4 people.

  • Jason @ WorkSaveLive says:

    I didn’t know Madison decided on 2 Thanksgivings in 1 year! How awesome…you get the day off (well, probably not back then) and you get to stuff your face. What a great president. lol.

    I also can’t believe that ate Eagle; that’s just too weird for me to think about! Although it’s very possible, but they’d be much harder to hunt down than the fat/lazy/slow turkeys.

    • John says:

      I did not know that either Jason. Another day to feast must’ve been awesome. 😉

      I thought the same exact thing about the eagle. Turkeys make much more sense to me to hunt.

  • Didn’t know about eating eagle, but there is a fitting symmetry since Ben Franklin wanted the national bird to be the turkey!

  • Nice infographic to go with this post John. I think that Thanksgiving is starting to slip away from us as retailers are now opening sooner and turning the holiday even more commercialized. I didn’t think it was possible, but they seem to achieve it every year.

    If we could eat eagle, I probably would try it. Might be a little gamey though.

    • John says:

      Thanks Grayson. I could not agree more with your sentiment. Now Walmart is in the news because they’re ticked that their employees don’t want to work on the Holiday.

      I am not certain I’d eat eagle, probably the whole nation’s national bird and everything.

  • Cat says:

    Two Thanksgivings in a year – interesting! I’m Canadian, so it’s not such a big deal up here – but my favourite part is pumpkin pie!

    • John says:

      I know, it was to me as well. You know, I am not a big pumpkin pie fan. I think it has to do with the consistency. I’ll take a pumpkin muffin or cake anytime, but the pie I can do without.

  • Tackling Our Debt says:

    I love infographics and I love Turkey, although preparing it is a lot of work. In October I made a new pumpkin pie recipe that was so easy and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • John says:

    Love the infographic!!! I know I’d personally struggle with eating eagles since I think they’re such majestic birds and also our nations National Bird. But I do see how this story could be true and I remember hearing about Ben Franklin wanting turkeys to be the national bird.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • John says:

      Thanks John! I totally agree about eating an eagle. I don’t that I’d physically have a problem with trying it but mentally would be hard to get past it.

      You have a Happy Thanksgiving as well!

  • Pauline says:

    FDR was a wise man! I just wish the stores would wait at least until after Thanksgiving to put on the Christmas decorations and items. I’m already tired of hearing the Spanish version of Jingle Bells.

    • John says:

      That he was Pauline. I could not agree more on the decorations. Many stores put that stuff out in mid September, that’s just too early for me.

  • Justin@thefrugalpath says:

    Bah, couldn’t they have left out the Lions losing every year. It’s hard enough to watch it. A lot of my co-workers go to the game and have a blast.
    And on a bright side, a few years ago they took the bald eagle off of the endangered species list. Though I doubt most people would want to eat them.
    Have a Happy T-day John.

    • John says:

      I know, I debated whether or not to say something about it but I could not pass it up. Although, my Cowboys are unfortunately not doing much better.

      Have a Happy Thanksgiving Justin!

  • Hey man, the Lions are doing much better. ha ha! OK had to say that as a former Detroiter, although I really don’t care. I don’t have any thanksgiving traditions other than to stuff my face. This year I’m going to another orphan thanksgiving. Hope you have a great day!

  • Ya eating the eagle was a bit surprising but the not the beer lol. Cool infographic. Thanksgiving in Canada was all new to me as we didn’t do this in the UK. As for tradition I guess getting together with the family and the pumpkin pie as well. Happy Thanksgiving John and Family. Mr.CBB

    • John says:

      Same here. We don’t have a whole lot of traditions either. I actually can’t stand pumpkin pie, I think it has to do with the consistency. But, I’ll take pumpkin bread, muffins or cake anytime. 🙂

  • Jordann says:

    As a Canadian who celebrated Thanksgiving several weeks ago, I find it amusing that Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving in order to make the Christmas shopping season longer – consumerism at its finest! Happy American Thanksgiving!

    • John says:

      It is. Although, I imagine that he did it to encourage people to shop and spend money to help the economy as we were still in the middle of The Great Depression, so there was a valid reason behind it.

  • Jingle Bells was a Thanksgiving song?? Do we HAVE Thanksgiving songs??

    • John says:

      I know it was a bit surprising. Though, I am not certain I entirely buy it. I am sure there probably are some sort of Turkey day songs out there, but are probably rather old.

  • I am surprised that they were as worried about the shopping season back during the Depression as they are now. Black Friday is older than we think.

    • John says:

      Yea, but there was a much better reason back then. We were still in the middle of The Great Depression and thus it was hoped it would help stimulate the economy. A bit more of an honorable reason then the commercialization that it is now.

  • I knew that Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey the national bird, but I had no idea that the bird of choice that first thanksgiving was eagle! I don’t think you’d be allowed to eat that in this country now even if you wanted to.

  • Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy says:

    There was…beer?! What kind? Eagle and beer, what a scrumptious combo. 😛

  • Wow, those are some interesting facts! I almost refuse to believe that Jingle Bells was a thanksgiving song. Where are the bells on thanksgiving? But I guess it doesn’t indicate anything Christmasy, except for the snow part and American thanksgiving is late enough in the year where many regions have snow.

  • I’m not surprised they ate eagle – not turkey – at the first Thanksgiving. When our Founding Fathers were debating which bird to make our national symbol, there was a large party that thought it should be the turkey, which is apparently a much “smarter” bird than the eagle, which is apparently rather dumb, despite it’s majestic look.

    • John says:

      Yea, I don’t know that it’s really surprising to me…especially knowing our history. The thing that surprises me is that they could catch it and catch enough to eat it. I’d imagine that eagle would be tough to hunt, but then again I am not really much of a hunter. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kira @Planwise says:

    This is a great infographic! Interesting about how the tradition of football on Thanksgiving started.

    (sure you can have Thanksgiving without turkey! I do 🙂

  • Give me turkey and the ensuing food coma anytime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *