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In defense of the turkey

In response to Mish Whalen’s PhotoBlog post in which she said turkeys are unattractive, I’d like to take a moment to defend the delicious bird.

Did you know Ben Franklin favored the turkey over the bald eagle as the symbol of America? Writing to his daughter from France in Jan. 1784, Franklin said:

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….

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."

Here are more interesting facts about the distinguished bird:

• Turkey is the only native poultry breed of the Western Hemisphere.
• Turkeys can hear very well but they don’t have ears.
• Turkeys can see colors.
• When excited, a male turkey's head turns blue, when ready to fight it turns red.
• Turkeys are so sensitive that they can have heart attacks when they are startled.