Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Adopt A Bird Spotlight: Fred the Turkey (Royal Palm Turkey)

Fred's Story

Species:  Royal Palm Turkey
Hatched:  Spring 2006

Fred the Turkey (not to be confused with Fred our Hooded Vulture) was rescued as an egg by one of our staff members.  Another organization had a surplus of turkey eggs, and Fred's was to be discarded.  The egg was incubated here at the World Bird Sanctuary and, after hatching, Fred was hand raised by his rescuer.

It so happened that the staff member who rescued Fred is one of the talented founders of The World Bird Sanctuary's musical group, "The Raptor Project".  This multi-talented group writes, produces, and performs original songs about the amazing creatures they work with every day.  One of their most popular songs, which is featured on the recently released "Save the Future" CD, is "A Turkey Named Fred".  Our real live Fred has become a mascot for this talented group, and has appeared onstage at our annual concert series, which takes place every Thursday evening during the month of August.

In addition to his appearances at Birds in Concert, Fred has also appeared on one of our local television stations for a Thanksgiving promo.  However, not to worry--all the literature tells us that Royal Palm Turkeys are not bred for the table.  They are usually kept for their feathers, and as small farm pets because of their bug catching abilities.

Fred is usually pretty good natured for a Tom, but can be aggressive toward people he perceives as a threat--such as keepers who must catch him up to weigh him and give him shots.

Your adoption donation will help to keep Fred strutting his stuff in the coming year.  To adopt Fred call 636-225-4390.  The adoption donation for Fred is $100.00.

Every donation helps to feed, house, and provide medical care for the bird of your choice!  Adopt A Bird Parents receive:

° A personal visit with the bird you adopt!!!!!  Call 636-861-3225 to set up a time for your personal visit.
° Certificate of Adoption
° Color photo of the bird you've adopted
° Sponsorship Card
° One year's subscription to Mews News (our quarterly newsletter)
° Life History and Natural History of the bird
° 10% Discount off WBS merchandise
° Invitation to Sponsors-only events like Camera Day
° Discounts on WBS Special Events
° WBS Decal

Natural History

Royal Palm Turkey

Description:  attractive, small sized turkey; white with sharply contrasting metallic black edging on the feathers; saddle is black and tail is pure white with each feather having a band of black and an edge of white; coverts are white with a bank of black; wings are white with narrow edge of black on each feather; breast is white with exposed portion of each feather ending in a band of black to form a contrast of black and white similar to the scales of a fish; shanks and toes are deep pink; eyes are brown; beards are black; heads are red to bluish white; red to bluish white wattles; first known bird in America to have this color pattern appeared in a mixed flock in Lake Worth, Florida, in 1920

Sex:  hens considerably smaller than Toms, and do not have the beard, display feathers, or large loose wattles of the Toms

Weight:  Toms - 22 lbs; Hens - 12 lbs.

Habitat:  This is a domesticated farm animal

Status:  considered a heritage turkey breed; The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy categorizes them as critical on it's watchlist, and in danger of extinction

Behavior:  usually kept as a flock of one Tom to several hens; hens will lay one egg every other day from March through August or September if eggs are collected daily; if they have a full nest they will begin to brood

Vocalization:  Toms will gobble to attract a hen; hens have a variety of low clucking calls

» Some hens will have beards, but they do not usually develop until the second year

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