By: Pat Coate
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, enjoying family, friends and football!
Though not known as a particularly pretty bird, the male wild turkey is actually a very colorful bird with some red, black, brown, blue, and iridescent green (more visible in next photo). Males also have a “beard” growing from the middle of their chest (also more visible in next photo). Females are duller in color and are mostly brown.
The wild turkey is found in all states except Alaska.
Many have heard that Ben Franklin preferred the turkey to the bald eagle as our national bird. Per Wikipedia, this sentiment was expressed in a letter he wrote to his daughter. An excerpt is below:
“… For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk [Osprey]; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
… Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest…
… For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Turkey]
It is not unusual to find wild turkeys with large broods. Unlike many other bird species, turkeys are born pretty well developed and the chicks (or poults) are able to search for their own food just a few days after hatching.
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