While the Eagle has been given first place as the “recreational bird,” some people have thought that the Turkey should have been accorded this place because it is in so general use on our national feast day, and because It had been domesticated by the Indians long before the discovery of America by Columbus.
The name was given in error, as It was supposed to have come from Turkey,
which It did not, the common turkey being native to North America.
The Turkey is Introduced as a type of overtebrate, because It has a backbone. It is classified as a bird because It’s an animal that dresses In feathers rather than in skin like men or to wear wool like sheep, hair like a horse or fur like a bear.
It’s gallinaceous, from a Latin word, meaning hen and our order
sometimes called rasores, also from the Latin, because it scratch’s for a
living. They practice “the strenous life” which others preach.
It’s family is a large one, the Phasianidae, which includes most of the do-
mestic fowls and also pheasants, grouse and quail—nearly 100 species in all.
You notice that the Turkey has some jaw-breaking words in the scientific description, but it’s jaws are called mandibles, from a Latin, word that means to chew, the upper and lower mandible forming the bill.
The whole opening of it’s mouth is called the gape and sometimes the rictus but that word should always be restricted to the back corner of it’s mouth.
You must-have noticed how beautifully a Turkey’s neck is wattled. That word wattle Is Old Engish and means a bag. The other name for the wattles, car-uncle, cornea from the Latin and meaning flesh.
The Turkey is bareheaded, but wear’s a great many feathers from the neck down to the tibia. Everybody’s leg below the knee has
two bones, of which one is the tibia.
The Turkey’s tibia is feathered. Below that Is the tarsus (Greek—heel In vertebrates, the Joint that bends back, while the knee-joint bend forward), and this tarsus bare of feathers, but covered with big scales. I wouldn’t dare pronounce all the long words that go With this part of a Turkey’s anatomy, but It may be interesting for you if you go turkey hunting. In the dictionary for “sculated” and related words. Look for “drumstick” and see why it is called “tibia-tarsus.”
While on the subject of feet and legs I’d better tell you something about the Turkey’s toes, of which they have four, besides the spur, this fast-named weapon being mercifully denied to the females of the family. The first toe grows out in. A seemingly awkward way behind the spread of it’s foot but it is really a convenience when it wants to clutch anything, as, for Instance, the branch of the tree where they generally roost. This toe is two-Jointed and called the hallux. The second toe, the Inner front one, is three-Jointed the third or middle one has four Joints, and the fourth or outer one has five Joints.
New, when you prepare a Turkey for the oven don’t throw away it’s lower legs and feet, but clean them thoroughly with a brush and warm water, to which you have to add a pinch of soda. Lay in cold water after a generous rinsing, and when you start the fire to roast the carcass put the legs (the tarsus only) and feet into a basin, cover with Cold water and let them sit where they will simmer until the roast Is done—when you have a foundation or stock for the most delicious broth. (I could tell you how the chicken soup trade began in Washington Market with a poor woman who utilized what the marketmen threw away, only to buy back from her in the form of a bowl of steaming hot soup, for which they each paid her a dime, and she became rich from this humble beginning.)
Don’t forget the “giblets,” too (heart, liver and gizzard), are used by the thrifty cook, who chops them fine after cooking them in the dripping pan with the ‘bird,” and then adds them to the already rich gravy for “home consumption.”
The gizzard is a sort of mill where the Turkey’s food is crushed, being the second or true stomach, after being softened in the first one, the “crop” In the lower part of the neck.
The wishbone has ‘a longer name, furcilum, from the Latin word that
means fork. The meaning is obvious.
As to the plumage, first are the “centour feathers.” These give outline
color and are ornamental appendages. These feathers are moved by muscles which are located under the skin, allow the Turkey, to “spread itself” by brushing the ground with it’s wings, erecting it’s body and tail feathers until it seems twice it’s usual size while “Strutting about and uttering it’s “gobble.”
That Word, by the Way, is Old English.