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Thunderbirds—real or legend?

Many Native American legends tell of giant thunderbirds. There are several theories.

  1. They are pterosaurs, flying extinct reptiles.
  2. They are giant birds.
  3. Pure myth.
  4. Andean condors, big but not giants.

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Islands in the sky. The mesas of Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest, eastern Kentucky are difficult to reach. What sort of winged creatures abide up there? The thunderbird of Native American mythology?

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Thunderbird

Fact or fiction?

Charles Suddeth

Thunderbird dances, Thunderbird screams,

He soars over black storm clouds,

Rings the moon and circles the sun.

He lands on snowy mountain tops,

Seizes monster oaks with his claws,

And drinks dry rivers and lakes.

We dance to please him, to appease him,

Our drums match the beat of his heart,

Our fires burn as hot as his blood.

We sing and chant and praise his power,

Offer up smoke of cedar and sage,

And bow before his holy presence.

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