America’s Bird says Ben Franklin

En route to work this morning I passed by a rafter of turkeys just west of Urish near Huntoon. I pulled off the road and as quickly as possible pulled out the tripod and my vintage 1975 Nikon 400mm lens.

It was a poor morning for photography to say the least, it was very foggy. All of the light was very filtered through the thick cloud cover. I played with different f/stops, ISO speeds, and shutters. It was pretty sad morning non the less.

There were probably 60-80 turkeys in the field – I would guess the closest one to me, in the foreground of this picture, was about 100 yards away. My old 400mm lens does not provide any help, it is a full-manual lens. It took a bit of trial and error to get this shot.

The owner of the land was kind enough to chat with me for a few moments. She said they make a circuit past her home every morning, and for the most part tend to ignore humans outside a few hundred feet. They strictly prohibit hunting on the property, which has aided in the growing numbers.

The picture is a standard female wild turkey. It is the males that have the big chest and beautiful plumage that is the focus of most turkey images for thanksgiving.

What I did not know until today was Ben Franklin’s desire to have the turkey as the national bird instead of the accepted Bald Eagle. He makes a great argument for this thinking.

For my own part 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.

With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country…

I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth 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.”
(source wikipedia)
Nikon D7000 | 1/100 | ISO 400 | 400mm prime | f/5.6 | flash - not used.

1 Comment

  1. Christina

    Awesome insight, Wyatt. I love it.


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