What Precisely is a Turkey?

I never thought of turkeys as beautiful. But they are. Aren’t they?
Sort of……
Wild turkeys are a Native American bird.
Benjamin Franklin wanted them to be our national bird, but apparently he was out voted, or something……It probably offended Thomas Jefferson’s sensibilities.
Can you envision a turkey as our national bird?
Franklin was definitely an interesting bird himself.
Anyhoo, I got into a discussion with my son who is in a grad program in wildlife biology about why wild turkeys have bald heads and necks like vultures.
It turns out this is a very complicated matter, basically an issue of morphology (appearance), DNA, and convergent evolution.
You’ll have to google it.
If your interested in turkeys, that is.
Turkeys are in a unique class of Native American bird, similar to the Muschovy duck.
Who knew?
Next time someone says to you, “don’t be a turkey,” ask him or her, “What precisely is a turkey?”
Their answer is certain to be wrong.
And you can feel smug.
Poor underestimated turkeys.
They get a bad rap.
And I am very sorry to say this, but they are fine eating too.
Especially with cranberry sauce….
Here is a wiki link for all of you who are now fascinated by wild turkeys and want to research them in great depth. For the very small few who are not fascinated, well….. just ignore it.
Cheers from all the turkeys at The Holler!

74 thoughts on “What Precisely is a Turkey?

  1. You have so much wonderful wildlife surrounding you. You made me laugh with this one. I’m one of those who feels guilty at Thanksgiving but gets over it…. And, yes, your camera makes even a turkey beautiful! 🙂

  2. Whaaaaa! I miss turkey. The only time it’s in the stores is at Christmas, but if we’re lucky El Rey brings some ground stuff every once in a while. We do have turkey vultures but somehow I don’t think they would taste as good with sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. 🙂 Great captures once again Cindy!

  3. Very interesting info! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday & I really do love turkeys (as in: “Please pass the Tofurkey!”). 🙂

    1. Well all the other stuff is actually better the the turkey anyway, the pies, the masked pototoes, the wild rice stuffing, the pies, the ala mode pies……pecan pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate silk pies, pecan stuffed mushrooms, fresh whole cranberries, sweep potatoes, oh and did I mention pies? LOL!

  4. Haven’t heard anyone mention Muscovy ducks since I was about 12 years old ! Should have figured that you’d know about them. Great pics of the turkey.

    1. Not sure, but are you sure those aren’t your neigbors instead of turkeys??? Just saying…..I have definitely had turkeys for neighbors, not just at the holler! LOL!

      1. He he They have chickens too.

        The turkeys are loud… but after Thanksgiving Day, it’s quiet in the morning. I wonder why.

        Actually, I love the sounds that farm animals make, right in the middle of the city.

      2. That is cool in the city! People are bringing bits of rural life into the urban jungle, keeping bees, chickens, who knew? turkeys. Do you want a calf? They are so cute. It could start a new urban trend. Bring your cow to class day??
        You do need to consider how big they get if you live in a apartment though????

    1. Yes people who haven’t seen them much find them scary. My mom thought the deer was scary. Scary for me are rattlesnakes……..I’ll take turkeys anyday. I used to work with some, so I’m used to them! 🙂

  5. you know this is precisely the reason i don’t want to see pretty pictures of edible animals. These birds look so beautiful and happy I just don’t want to roast them.
    Please promise me you won’t click a chicken next…. I’d hate to give that up because your photography made it look just too good to eat.

    1. This is so true. It brings up a lot of dissonance in my mind. Living around free range cattle, I find it hard to believe I eat beef. I never would hunt, certainly never for fun, that is so off putting to me, but buying meat and turkey at the grocery store is sort of the same thing ultimately. I rationalize that it is some how better to buy meat in a store than kill it for fun. I still think killing for fun is wrong. But is eating meat also? Probably……

      1. are you tying to sell me to vegetarianis? or worse… veganism?
        if killing/eating a living organism is wrong, then man would starve to death. Plants are living beings too. And from where I see, our fellow people have to slave harder at planting and reaping crops than they have to work at tending animals.
        I am not saying raising animals is easy, but compared to the regular hardship of a fruit/veg/grain farm it is a lot simpler. Atleast in my opinion.

  6. Interestingly, I saw a photo of a Muscovy duck today. There are some similarities. Do like that close up. Nice to have a lens with a zoom. I like turkey a lot, especially the sandwiches I get to make after Thanksgiving. Thanks for all the visits and likes Cindy. Appreciate it!

    1. Yes and now I have spoiled that for everyone who looks at the pics. Bah hum bug. Now we’re going to think of this rather interesting bird……and his family. Darn it~

  7. I can tell you that hitting a turkey in your car does as much damage as if you’d hit a vulture. You’re looking at a big bill.
    If you really want to wreck your car, hit a peacock. They explode on impact. And like turkeys (but not vultures) they’re ridiculously stupid and don’t seem to have any concept of self preservation

    1. I think maybe the only more clueless bird is the Emu. They are just stunningly obtuse. And they are REALLY big……6 feet tall! Aussies are brave!! I wonder how smart ostriches are? You would know Duncan. Pray tell…….

      1. I do know someone who used to work on an ostrich farm in South Africa, and apparently ostriches completely stupid. A friend in New Mexico reckons roadrunners are dense too. It wasn’t that he didn’t like them. But they’re dumb as knots in a plank

      2. Yes indeed, we know from things like Hollywood movie stars, that intelligence is not a prerequsite for affection. I think roadrunners are related to Koo-koo birds but don’t quote me on this~

  8. There’s so much of the planet on this site. The pictures are so high on impact. Turkeys live and recipes in the same breath!

    Nice blog. Am new to wordpress and so haven’t had time to visit my favorites, and one of them is this one.
    Loved your profile page too and the pic! Someone has taken it very well.

    Will return. Am a ‘follower’ and fan.

  9. They have beautiful eyes, but they have also a sad look, just like chicks. Maybe they know they only came to planet earts to be eaten 🙁 Granny won’t eat them, but I recommend myself. Pawkisses 🙂

  10. I am now fascinated…I am clicking, and I am not just clucking! How weird I never even wondered why either bird was bald!! I am kind of a bird nut…or maybe just a nutty bird…;)

    I antici–PATE the knowledge with great interest…hoh hoh hoh…:)

  11. I don’t remember ever seeing wild turkeys here in south western Ontario but this last couple of years they have started appearing in back yards. Last thanksgiving we had about three on the front lawn of our hosts home. We figured they were holding a wake for the one in the oven!

    1. Hilarious! Or they came to elicit guilt? Or possibly they are Thanksgving draft dodgers from the USA! LOL! They are fun to watch in the wild. Cheers to you~

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