A lot of folks will be seeing, and actively partaking in turkey today, but few will view them up close and personal in this form.
Richland County has a number of Wild Turkey holdouts, where they can generally be found strutting and gobbling. Turkeys were once abundant in Ohio and considered quite tasty. The tasty part is still true! Although, there are considerable differences between the "Butterball" on your table today and these noble beasts.
It has been said Benjamin Franklin lobbied to make the Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo our national bird. However, this is probably an urban legend based on a letter written to his daughter, where-in he extolls the Wild Turkey and compares it to the Bald Eagle. He found the eagle to be "a Bird of bad moral character."
Ben cited the Wild Turkey as being brave and cunning. They are also agile fliers! I never cease to be surprised when a mid-tree height rocket shoots across the road in a woodland. The hens in my photo were out for a morning graze, and for the botany portion of this blog, let it be noted that a wild turkey's diet is comprised of predominately grasses, along with nuts. Beech, Fagus grandifolia are now favored, but once the American Chestnut, Castanea dentata was plentiful.
Thanksgiving has become a day Americans associate with turkey and sports. And I, for one, will be partaking in a little "turkey wrestling" in a short while. While a 22 pounder puts up quite a struggle in the kitchen, no doubt I shall win. Then, let the feasting begin.
Happy Thanksgiving friends! Weedpicker Cheryl