Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks for the Turkey

Thanksgiving and Christmas both have substantial sacrifices: for Christmas, it's the tree, and of course for Thanksgiving, it's the turkey.

Taking life is no small matter and for that reason I give thanks for the turkey, a bird in a class of it's own and indigenous to North America. Although most people eat the domesticated variety, they're descendants of the more attractive and now plentiful wild turkey. And when it comes to the bounty of the autumn harvest, there is no bigger bird around. We are very fortunate.

Bird books, when identifying a bird, will reference other birds that are similar, to help you narrow your sighting down to the specific bird. Well, in one of my bird books (National Geographic?) they say for the turkey that "there is no other bird like it". And that's true, they're unmistakable.

Thanks to State reintroduction programs, the turkey has rebounded amazingly well, and like a great deal of wildlife, is penetrating our urban cores. I was astonished when I discovered this turkey on my trailcam over next to the Michigan Center for the Blind. Taken in 2005, I had no idea at the time that we had these big birds roaming our woods. Now, they're relatively common, but need good habitat with good cover and most importantly, privacy.

To date, I've yet to photograph, let alone witness a Tom (adult male turkey) in full display, fanning it's tail feathers and strutting it's stuff. Yet another natural wonder awaits me.

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