Strutting Tom

It is definitely spring. Outside my study window, in the mist,  a tom (male) turkey is displaying to his lady hen, who continues to preen, unimpressed by his splendor.


Seen advancing from the front he is quite a sight, like a galleon under full sail. He has an enormous blue snood hanging down over his beak, a darker blue face, …. and bright red wattles. He puffs himself up, and drags his wings,  strutting his stuff, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the turkey world.


Meanwhile, she grazes on,  oblivious.

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote to his daughter in support of the Turkey as national bird: “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

…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.”


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