A mythical eagle-like bird of North American Indian folklore, believed to produce thunder and lightning.
In the legends of native North Americans, the thunderbird is a powerful spirit in the form of a bird. Through the work of this bird, it is said, the Earth is watered and vegetation grows. Lightning is believed to flash from its beak, and the beating of its wings is thought to result in the rolling of thunder. It is often portrayed with an extra head on its abdomen.
The majestic thunderbird is often accompanied by lesser bird spirits, frequently in the form of eagles or falcons. Evidence of similar figures has been found throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Eskimo stories and legends tell that long ago there were many thunderbirds living in the mountains, but at last there were only two left. These birds made their home on the round top of a mountain overlooking the Yukon. They hollowed out a great basin on the summit for a nest, and from the rocky rims they could look down upon the valley below. From this perch the thunderbirds, looking like a black cloud, would soar away, bringing back to their young a reindeer in their talons.
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Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed.
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