Watergate, the New Deal, the Rough Rider Regiment, and the Declaration of Independence. All are synonymous with some of the most famous, and infamous, Presidents in U.S. history.
But in addition to riding into battle or forming a new nation, these men also trekked across Africa, studied newly discovered fossils, and evaded their bodyguards to go bird-watching. (Go inside the U.S. Presidency with National Geographic magazine.)
Franklin D. Roosevelt was guilty of slipping away from Secret Service agents in order to watch the birds in the woods near his house at Hyde Park in New York, said Franceska Macsali-Urbin, a supervisory park ranger at the home of FDR.
"When they would catch up to him, he'd gun the motor of his car and lose them in the woods," she said.
Roosevelt's fascination with birds stemmed from a boyhood hobby. Inspired by his distant cousin Theodore Roosevelt, who was an avid birder, Franklin started a collection of each species of bird found around his home when he was 11 years old.
"In later years, [FDR] was known as one of the leading authorities on the birds of Dutchess County," said Macsali-Urbin.
Franklin Roosevelt's father allowed his son to collect no more than two of each species, a male and a female. By age 14, he had collected and identified more than 300 species.
A subset of his collection is displayed in a cabinet (pictured) at his family's home in Hyde Park.
—Jane J. Lee
Pictures: The Presidents’ Natural Specimens
A pygmy hippopotamus and a man-eating leopard are only some of the creatures these leaders have brought home.