It seems that every time I mention turkeys, the standard response I get from folks is, “turkeys are stupid –so stupid they even drown in the rain.” And ironically, this response almost always comes from people, for who, the only turkey they have ever met was the roasted one without a head on their dining table. (Any one of us would be considered stupid under those circumstances!) A few years ago I read James McWilliams article in The Atlantic “Consider the Turkey” in which he dispatches that misconception (as well as others) about turkeys:
Consider the Turkey
By James McWilliams
From The Atlantic archives November 24, 2010
Excerpt: Turkeys need each other, and in more than just a safety-in-numbers sort of way. Researchers have found that when an individual turkey is removed from his flock, even in domesticity, he’ll squawk in obvious protest until reunited with his posse. Turkeys have a refined “language” of yelps and cackles. They mourn the death of a flock member and so acutely anticipate pain that domestic breeds have had epidemical heart attacks after watching their feathered mates take that fatal step towards Thanksgiving dinner. They clearly feel and appear to understand pain.