My original intent … The Bird !
“When Europeans first encountered turkeys in America, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guinea-fowl. Guinea-fowl were also known as turkey fowl because they were imported to Central Europe through Turkey. The name turkey fowl, shortened to just the name of the country, stuck as the name of the North American bird.” wiki
The turkey is one of the most famous birds in North America, in fact Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey, not the Bald Eagle, the national bird of the United States. Glad Ole’ Ben was over-ruled.
“The turkey’s popularity comes from the American people’s love of eating the bird for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although wild and domesticated turkeys are related, there are some differences between the two. While wild turkeys are capable of flight, domesticated turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys typically have dark colored feathers, while domesticated turkeys are commonly bred to have white feathers. Domesticated turkeys are also bred to have large breast muscles.” wiki
The big breast muscles on these turkeys make it too difficult for mating, so they must be artificially inseminated. The turkey egg takes 28 days to hatch. The baby turkeys are called poults, and a young turkey is either a Jake or a Jenny. When they become adults, the female is called a Hen, and the male a Tom, a Stag, or a Gobbler. The males of both turkey species, the wild and domestic, have a distinctive protuberance that hangs from the top of the beak, called a snood. Though both hens and gobblers have snoods that grow and retract to attract mates, the snood on the male turkey is much longer than that of the hen. The hen prefers a tom with a longer snood …..
The wattle, which extends below the beak, is that inelastic ‘turkey-neck’ flap of skin that hangs below the beak. The female human may also don this attractive feature, but it is with age that this attribute is truly embellished. The wattle helps the turkeys to shed excess heat, along with panting, when they bake their un-feathered heads in the blazing sunshine. On humans, pure decoration.
And as with most birds, the toms are larger and much more colorful than the hens.
According to what traditionally is known as “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth Colony contained turkey, waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. A contemporary Thanksgiving meal includes a large breasted turkey, adorned with sides of sweet potatoes, stuffing, beans, peas, cornbread, cranberry sauce, wild rice, and pumpkin pie … or typically foods native to North America.
Turkeys are a good, low-fat source of protein, and they have become an increasingly popular choice of poultry because of their taste and good nutritional value. According to the US Department of Agriculture,65 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving, hence the nickname Turkey Day! Now you know the important facts of the most popular bird in America.