Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wattle and Snood
Wattle and Snood --sounds like the name of a law firm.
Actually, those are the names of the distinct facial features of a turkey. The wattle is the fleshy, bumpy flap of skin under the chin and the snood is the dangly part that hangs over the turkey's beak.
Until we got these birds I had never been up close and personal with a turkey so I have been paying attention to how the snood works--wondering, for instance, are some turkeys left-snooded and some turkeys right-snooded? The answer is no, the snood flips to and fro. It starts out growing on the chick as a little bump, then grows pointy like a little rhinocerous horn,and keeps growing until it becomes a fancy appendage.
When the Tom turkeys are trying to look impressive--if, say, an unfamiliar dog approaches, or when trying to show off to a female, the Tom turkey puffs his feathers up, spreads his tailfeathers, holds his wings out stiffly from his body, his snood and wattle turn from pale pink to brilliant red and his face turns bright blue - spectacular! This is when he usually gobbles. (His ordinary voice is a little bark or a pretty trill.)
I used to think turkeys were unattractive, but they have such endearing personalities they have become rather beautiful to me.