|Written by Bill Hanks|
Native American Lore: The Legend of the Thunderbird When I first hear the word Thunderbird, I think first about the automobile designed by the Ford motor company. I then think about engraving of the Thunderbird on the hood of the car. However, Ford took that emblem from what Native Americans had drawn.
The legend of the giant Thunderbird has been passed on by Native Americans for thousands of years. They drew petroglyph's of the giant bird on stone walls. The thing that makes the legend so remarkable is that not just one tribe talks about it. The Thunderbird has been used in Indian culture by all tribes both east, west, north, and south in the America's. Some tribes consider the Thunderbird part man and bird. Egypt and China as well have used a design of a Thunderbird in their cultures as well.
Native Americans are not the only ones to have seen the bird either. In 1925, a couple visiting the Alberta Rockies, reported seeing the great bird. There have also been recent reports in Illinois and Pennsylvania as well. Some individuals believe that it could be some form of Condor or Vulture. Others have said that it might some type of bird related to the Pterodactyl. Those ancient birds had a wingspan of over 23 feet. Some individuals have fabricated stories that these birds carry a small deer or animal and even a small child off for their meals. In 2001, one of these creatures was sighted over Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
It was reported that two Cowboys killed one of these birds in Arizona in 1890. They said it had featherless wings and a face like an Alligator. According to the story, they took it to a local barn and pinned the wings back. the wingspan went from one side of the barn to the other. The Tombstone Epitaph was suppose to have a picture of it. To date only a few have seen the actual picture. This makes one wonder if a picture really exists.
Then on July 25, 1977 in Lawndale, Illinois, three young boys were playing outside when they were approached by two very large birds. Two of the boys escaped but, a third boy Marlon Lowe didn't. According toĀ Wikipedia.org Lowe was grabbed by the bird by the shoulders and carried many feet before being let go. According to witness descriptions, the bird could have also been a California Condor or a Stellar Sea Eagle.
It is believed that Native Americans really had a run in with very large bird called Giant Condor or in its scientific name a Aiolomis. It is said that this type of bird lived over 10,000 years ago. It is possible that this legend has been passed down from generation to generation. Could it be that one of these Giant Condors still exist? Many scientists don't believe so. However, many parts of the Rockies and Western America have some regions that still needs lots of exploration.
The Thunderbird emblem has been used on Native American totem poles, usually at the top. This is because of the high regard that they have for it. It is not unusual to see it used for various establishments like motels, and restaurants across parts of Western America.
In any case, if ti is a legend, it is one of the most popular and has been exploited for it's use in advertisements. The Ford motor company wasn't the only one to use the name Thunderbird.
Note: Ā The picture above is the closest thing ever captured, that comes close to being a thunderbird.