Tom turkeys are utterly confident in their ability to impress the world. With no regard to subtlety, they are incurable preeners. Have a look at our turkeys out on the pasture as they do their best to impress each other.
Hey this is Dave from Wrong Direction Farm, just hanging out here with the turkeys. There they are. They’re all proud and puffed up and getting blue in the face, just trying to show off. Look at this guy. Now he is really impressed with himself. He wants us to be impressed with him too. His face has gone really nice blue. His snood is dangling all the way down. He’s got all the skin on his neck – it’s all engorged, all red. He’s in full mating display. He thinks he’s something.
Let me stop and ask the hen what she thinks.
What do you think?
Impressed? Seen it before? Seen it all before? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Just not that impressive, man.
I wanted to show you something about turkeys. Maybe you don’t know, but they have what we call a beard. Yeah, tom turkeys have a beard. Let’s take a look. You see that clump of dark feathering on the breast? That’s the beard.
Looks like a brush actually.
Unlike chicken roosters, whose mating displays are limited to feather puffing and a few dance moves, turkeys make much of on gaudy displays. Body feathers puff up, tail feathers fan out, wings are held off the body with the tips of the flight feathers dragging along the ground. The black wiry beard becomes prominent. All along the neck, the caruncles are engorged and red. The face turns blue. The snood extends and extends, transforming from a tiny nub to a six inch long dangler across the face. Then the turkeys begin vocalizing with aggressive exhalations.
To me, they just look ridiculous. But they take themselves completely seriously.