Ben Franklin had a thing for turkeys, and thought they — not the bald eagle — ought to be the national symbol:
“For the 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.”
Benjamin Franklin, 1784
T: (affects Eeyore voice) “Oh…you know. Peeping.”
Along with Halloween, Thanksgiving is one of my most favoritest celebrations. Family, friends, food, fun — warmth, winter, wine…what more could a girl ask for?
But not for eating.
Many a wild feathered friend has dropped in on me. Or should I say, crashed the party? One landed on the roof two weeks ago and I thought a tree was falling. Here she is, swooping down to the driveway.
Turns out, wild turkeys are abundant throughout much of California. There are an estimated 200,000+ birds in the state. Wild turkey hunting is popular — according to the CA Department of Fish & Game, which maintains tightly-regulated turkey-hunting seasons — but a warning: don’t bother my turkeys. Yeah, they’re mine.
Turkey tots are called poults. Turkey teens are called jakes. Adult males are toms, and adult females are hens. Turkeys have wattles and snoods and beards and they gobble. Their heads change color when they’re excited — from white to red or blue. They really are patriotic.
I might be drinking Ben Franklin’s Kool-Aid.
Turkeys, despite their large size — male wingspans can exceed 4 feet, and males often weigh more than 20 lbs — are adept at flight. They sleep in trees (not joking — how cute is that?!) and scratch around on the ground, looking for yummies. They’re omnivorous, and appreciate nuts and berries in addition to bugs and…more bugs.
In short, power to the wild turkey. And not the bourbon.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!