Saturday, November 21, 2009

The most popular bird of the month: Turkey


Before we sit at the table for our Thanksgiving dinner or supper with our family and passing around the turkey, I thought I would write a blog about the ol' bird.
     Ben Franklin thought that the turkey was the best bird to respresent our nation instead of the bald eagle. He thought that the turkey a more respectable bird than the eagle, which he thought was a bad moral character. Wild turkeys back then were different that our turkeys today. The turkeys of his time were brightly plumed and a cunning bird of flight. You could see wild turkeys flying in the sky in flocks. Domesticated turkeys of today can't fly.
     Turkeys have lived in North America for almost ten million years.
     Now the Apache Indians thought that the turkeys were cowards, so cowardly that they would not eat them or wear their feathers. They thought that if they did they would contract their coward spirit. The Aztec Indians domesticated wild turkeys for food. When the Spanish explorers came over and saw the turkeys they took a few back with them to Europe. Through time these types of domesticated turkeys made their way back to North America. The English colonists brought them with them to the New World and used them for food.
     The turkey could have gotten it's name for many different reasons. One could be from the call that it makes when it's afraid, "turk, turk, turk."  Turkeys can literally be scared to death. The Air Force was doing some test runs trying to break the sound barrier. In a field near by, a flock of turkeys died because of the sound of the test runs. Now everyone has heard that the turkey will look up in the sky when it rains. This has not been seen nor investigated. For right now, that's a rumour.
     Another way the turkey could have gotten it's name was when Christopher Columbus 'discovered' the wild turkey, he thought it was part of the peacock family. So he name them "tuka" which in the language of India meant peacock.
     The Native Ameican Indians name for turkey was "firkee."
     Only the adult male makes the gobble, gobble call. The adult male is called the tom turkey while the female turkeys are called a hen. They make a gentle clucking or clicking sound. The chicks are called poults.
     The wild turkey has excellent visions. They can see in a field of vision up to 270 degrees. That's why it's hard for hunters to sneak upon one. Turkeys don't have external ears. They can also see in color but they do have a poor sense of smell.
     When we have an image of the turkey in our heads, we usually see a bird that is puffed out and struting the woods or some barnyard. That's not the turkey's usual stance. It doesn't last long and it's a mating strut to attract the hens. Normall the male turkey looks as simple as the female turkey.
    
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How The Turkey Got His Beard
After the Turtle won the race from the Rabbit all the animals was wondering and talking about it a lot among themselves, because they had always thought the Turtle was slow. But the Turkey was not satisfied and told the others there must be some trick about it. Said he, "I know the Turtle can't run--he can hardly crawl-I'm going to try him."
So one day the Turkey met the Turtle coming home from a war with a fresh scalp hanging from around his neck and it was dragging on the ground while he traveled. The Turkey laughed when he saw it and said:, "That scalp doesn't look right on you. Your neck is too short to wear it that way here let me show you."
The Turtle agreed and gave the scalp to the Turkey. The Turkey then put it around his neck. "Now," said the Turkey, "I'll walk a little while then you can see how it looks." So he walked ahead a short distance and then turned and asked the Turtle how he liked it. The Turtle said, "It looks very nice; it becomes you."
"Now I'll fix it in a different way then let you see how it looks," said the Turkey. So he gave the string another pull and again walked around. "O, that looks very nice," said the Turtle. But the Turkey kept on walking, and when the Turtle called out to him to bring back the scalp, the Turkey only walked faster and then ran away.  Then the Turtle got out his bow and by his magic shot a number of cane splints into the Turkey's leg to cripple him so that he could not run. This is why the Turkey have that many small bones in the their leg. The Turtle never caught the Turkey, who still today wears the scalp from his neck



Why The Turkey Gobbles
The Grouse had a fine voice and a good halloo in the ballplay. All the animals and birds used to play ball in those days. The Turkey didn't have a good voice, he asked the Grouse if he would teach him how to have a fine voice.  The Grouse agreed to teach him, but the Turkey had to pay for the lessons, and the Turkey promised to give him some feathers to make himself a collar. That is how the Grouse got his collar of turkey feathers. The Turkey learned very fast. The one day the Grouse asked the Turkey to try his voice. "Now," said the Grouse, "I'll stand on this hollow log, then when I give the signal by tapping on it, you must halloo as loudly as you can." So he got upon the log ready to tap on it, as a Grouse does, but when he gave the signal the Turkey was so eager and excited that he could not raise his voice for a shout, but only gobble. Now ever since then he gobbles whenever he hears a noise.

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