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Celebrating Clark, the bald eagle

(SOUNDBITE OF KHRUANGBIN'S "FATHER BIRD, MOTHER BIRD")

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Ambassador Clark flew into the nation's capital this week. The Washington Post says he gobbled a fancy, fresh seafood platter in his hotel lobby, then relaxed - life on the diplomatic circuit.

Clark, a 21-year-old bald eagle, is the son of Captain, a bald eagle that West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt gave to President Ronald Reagan in 1982, along with his sister Carol. The bird that is a national symbol of the United States was endangered then. President Reagan kept Captain and Carol until 1988, then dispatched Carol to the National Zoo and Captain to the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Mo. The

Captain fathered about six healthy eaglets, but Clark was born with bad feet - maybe a gift. His brothers and sisters were released into the wild, but Clark stayed behind at the sanctuary for his own safety. He's since become a kind of conservation ambassador who flies across the country, albeit on an airplane with a human handler, Daniel Cone.

Clark appears at events, often soaring between two trainers during "The Star-Spangled Banner." His feathered presence signifies a success story. Because of conservation efforts, the bald eagle has been removed from the endangered species list.

(SOUNDBITE OF KHRUANGBIN'S "FATHER BIRD, MOTHER BIRD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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