Ben Franklin was right...
...the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) would have been a better choice for our national bird than the Bald Eagle. Bald eagles are essentially thieving carrion-eaters and they're a bit gross. But I guess our forefathers were in the mood for an fiercely aggressive symbol for our young country. The turkey on the other hand is more ubiquitous and incredibly colorful. Have you ever seen one up close? If you haven't ever seen their amazing colors from a distance of 50 yards or less, they might have looked like large, dull, dark avi-silhouettes. Check out this great photograph by a talented midwestern bird photographer and prepare to be dazzled.
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