Today we ponder whether or not the turkey was known before the discovery of America, at least that is the topic of an essay published in our copy of the 1781 Miscellanies written by the noted naturalist, antiquary, and lawyer Daines Barrington (1727/28 – 1800); after reading his essay, however, we remain neutral on the subject…
Speaking of turkeys: John James Audubon liked the wild turkey so much he made this engraving of a male as the first plate in his monumental Birds of America (1827-1838)
which depicts all the birds in their actual size. You can make an appointment to view our beloved complete set of this amazing collection of 435 hand-colored copper engravings, a gift to our library in 1906 by Mrs. William S. Ladd…
Hi, friends! Resident Turkey Expert here. In light of the upcoming holiday, here are some turkey facts and photos!
1. Wild turkeys can live to be 15-20 years old.
2. Genetically modified domesticated turkeys are bred to be full size at only 12 weeks old. If they are rescued and allowed to live longer than this, they become severely overweight and their legs swell. This causes arthritis and cuts their life expectancy to about 4 years. My sweet Sun is a genetically modified turkey, and we only have about one more year with her on Earth. 😪
3. Domesticated turkeys like Sun are also bred to be white, because white feathers do not leave a mark in the skin when they are plucked. Otherwise, turkeys come in a myriad of beautiful camouflage colors!
3. They are very social animals and live in large family groups consisting of a head male, some lady turkeys, and their chicks! Mama turkeys carry their babies on their backs until they get too big!
4. They do, indeed, have completely different personalities! Sun is very quiet and reserved and loves her personal space, while her sister Alice is extremely curious and constantly chatting up a storm.
5. The flappy fleshy bit above a turkey’s beak is called a snood. In girls they’re small, while male turkeys’ are long and pronounced. And they contract and change color based on their mood!
6. Male turkeys are ATTENTION HOGS. They puff up and dance and love applause. On the other hand, domesticated female turkeys love to cuddle. They will crawl into your lap, open their wings and let you scratch their soft little bellies.
I am TRULY obsessed with these softies. I took all of these photos while volunteering at The Gentle Barn in California; I was paired with the white turkey named Sun. 💕
The Narragansett turkey is named for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, where the variety was developed. It descends from turkeys and the domestic turkeys (probably Norfolk Blacks) brought to America by English and European colonists beginning in the 1600’s. Improved and standardized for production qualities, the Narragansett became the foundation of the turkey industry in New England. The American Poultry Association recognized the Narragansett in 1874.
President Obama explained that after last year, his daughters decided they couldn’t put up with his dad jokes, so he was joined at the pardon by his adorable two nephews! President Obama is clearly letting his full nerd hang out now. (Yes he cran!) The full video of jokes is truly worth the click.
Cody helped out at the vegan outreach table today. He was there to help inspire compassion for birds and all other critters! More and more people seem to be on board with choosing a cruelty-free diet. Very exciting!
It took me some extra time to reach the table because somebirdy got swarmed.