Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Yes, it is that time of year, Thanksgiving. It’s time to go over the river and through the woods. Fortunately this year the weather is cooperating. For my readers in that are not tuned into this holiday, it is a time of gathering with friends and family to celebrate the harvest. Traditionally, we serve domestic turkey with all the fixin’s. After, the men watch American Football and the women get stuck cleaning up the dishes.

 Turkey 2011, March, 20, 11hr,53min, 001

Sorry for the banal post. I see this guys frequently in the parking lots where I work, but I don’t pack my gear when I’m working. For me having a camera at work would be like keeping a bottle of Scotch in my desk. Not a good idea. “Excuse me Steve, when you are through shooting that meadowhawk, can you get back to this meeting?” Yes I get distracted by everything when I’m tooled up for photography. (I do have a camera in my desk. It is an old Cannon 3MPx point-and-shot that I use when I have to take pictures of machinery on the job. It is safe for me to walk about campus with it bulging in my pocket because it is extremely out-dated and I would be mortified if anyone caught me using it on an animal.)

So this is the best shot of a turkey that I’ve ever gotten. Not a real cock-of-the-rock shot, but you can see the field marks. To make matters worse, I’ve only seen the toms puffed up in mating season when I’m at work, never when I’m off duty. (Yes, those renditions of puffed up tom turkeys you see in November are about six months out of phase. It’s a springtime mating thing meant to impress the babes, not a “look at how fat and tasty I am for Thanksgiving” look.)

Turkey 5-16-2010 9-42-24 AM

I’m truly fascinated by the variety of feathers that turkeys sport. I have a wild turkey primary flight feather on my desk at work. But what is with that head? Sometimes I think that the turkeys are named after turkey vultures, and not the other way around.

So this all got me wondering. Why is this bird called turkey? According to The Dictionary of American Bird Names, by Ernest Choate, “Our wild turkey derives its name from the domestic turkey which is a descendent of turkeys brought alive from Mexico to Spain in 1630. The Oxford Dictionary says the name was first applied to the African bird (Guinea fowl) because it was brought from Guinea through Africa by the Portuguese, and latter applied to the American bird. However it is agreed that the name turkey became attached to the bird from a widespread misconception of the country of its origin, Turkey. Ignorance as to the bird’s place of origin is not confined to its reflection in English, as we find G[reek] calecutischer hahn, literally ‘a cock of Calicut’; F[rench] coc d’Inde, literally ‘a cock of India’; and the I[talian] gallo d’India , “cock of India.” One wonders whether or not some of the early settlers in America were a bit puzzled when they found the bird ahead of them.”

I hope you have a good Thanksgiving.


Johnny Nutcase said...

turkeys are cool. I see them ALL the time but have never gotten their photo..hope you had a good holiday!

Roy said...

Its a great shot Steve.

Judy said...

There are turkeys in the area, other people tell me, but I have only seen them the once...
The feathers are fascinating, now that I have studied your photo. So much variety!
I have found a couple of striped flight feathers, in the last month, that might be turkey, judging by this photo...

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