by Barbara Walvoord
Scores of turkeys will be brought onto Lathrop land for Thanksgiving–all trussed up for cooking. Their lives are over, devoted to helping us and our families give thanks.
But the wild turkeys already on our land are very much alive, and they have much to be thankful for.
One cause for thanks is the survival of their species. Turkeys have been around for more than 11 million years. Native Americans hunted them for food and feathers, and some tribes considered them sacred or linked them to the “trickster” figure. Columbus noted their presence, and Ben Franklin wanted the turkey, not the eagle, as the national bird.
The European settlers were not good news for turkeys, however. Overhunting and deforestation drove them nearly to extinction by the late 1800’s. Thankfully, however, conservation measures have brought them up to about a million in the U.S. Some of them live right here at Lathrop. Continue reading Thanksgiving Turkeys at Lathrop