Fowl Are Fair on Day 5

Fowl Are Fair on Day Five, with Special Attention to Galliforms

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

RedJunglefowl.Gallus-gallus-FredericPelsey

Red Junglefowl (wild equivalent of domestic chicken) Frederic Pelsey photo

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [‘ôph] that may fly [ye‘ôphēph] above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.  And God created great whales [tannînim ha-gadolîm], and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl [‘ôph kanaph] after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl [‘ôph] multiply in the earth. (Genesis 1:20-22)

In the Holy Bible, King James Version, the term “fowl” is repeatedly used to denote birds in general – animals who fly with wings and feathers. Nowadays, however, we usually limit the term “fowl” to refer to “waterfowl” (like ducks) or landfowl, like chickens.  The latter category – landfowl – are, generally speaking, birds that stay close to the ground because their body plan is fairly heavy (which is not good for intense or prolonged flying), like chickens or turkeys.  The fancy term for these landfowl is GALLIFORM, meaning shaped like a chicken.

Accordingly, God is glorified by His creation of poultry (domesticated chicken-like birds) and similar landfowl (a/k/a “gamefowl”), both being taxonomically categorized as Galliforms (i.e., birds whose physical forms that resemble big or small chickens).

Galliforms, as large ground-dwelling birds, are well-known for eating seeds and insects (both of which are often found on or near the ground). As noted above, their body weight encumbers them from flying very much or very far, although they can and do fly short distances when needed.  When chased, by predators, they often run and hide (as is indicated in 1st Samuel 26:18 & 26:20).  These often-domesticated birds include chicken, quails, pheasants, tragopans, argus, grouse, guineafowl, incubator birds, craciforms (such as guan, chachalaca and curassow), ptarmigan, turkey, and peafowl.  1st-Samuel26.20-partridge-slide

The typical icon of the galliform group (according to taxonomist Carl Linnaeus, in A.D. 1758) is Gallus gallus, a label assigned to both Asia’s wild Junglefowl and the domestic Chicken.  Many of these birds, especially chickens and turkeys, are raised by humans, for their eggs or to be eaten (as meat).  CodfishLays1000000Eggs-poem

As we know from Scripture (Luke 11:12-13), poultry eggs are a truly good source of nutrition for humans, and the whites (albumen) of eggs taste better when seasoned with salt (Job 6:6).

Galliform birds mostly live mostly sedentary lives (although some seasonally migrate) in moderate climate zones of Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia, and many islands. (Don’t expect to find them in the super-dry Sahara Desert or in super-cold Antarctica.)

Turkeys-in-wild.SchuylkillCenter-EnvlEducn

AMERICAN TURKEYS Schuylkill Center for Envir’l Educ’n photo

Some of these poultry birds are usually found only live in certain parts of the world (such as wild turkeys, which are biogeographically native only to North and South America), yet they can be introduced (as immigrants) to other places that have similar climates.  Because landfowl usually nest on or near the ground they are often victims to predators, including humans; accordingly it is important to avoid over-hunting them (and over-harvesting their eggs); this conservation-relevant reality (and concern) is acknowledged by Moses in Deuteronomy 22:6-7.

Amazingly, the Lord Jesus once compared His own willingness and ability, to care and protect humans, to that of a galliform – specifically, a mother hen — who uses her own body to protectively care for her own hatchling baby chicks (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34).    How good it is to belong to Him forever!

Luke13.34-KnowingJesus.com-pic

LUKE 13:34 (Knowing-Jesus.com image)

Lord’s Avian Wonders – A Christmas Turkey?

“The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.” (Psalms 111:2 NKJV)

While updating our passes at Lowry Park Zoo last week, I found this startled “Turkey” insisting that he was not a “Turkey”

Non-Turkey at Lowry Park Zoo cropped

Startled Non-Turkey at Lowry Park Zoo (cropped)

To me, he had wattles like a turkey!

Well, maybe it’s not a turkey after all. It is actually is a Guineafowl. Plus, they are not even in the same family.

Guinefowl at Lowry Park Zoo

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) at Lowry Park Zoo

Turkeys have to keep a low profile during the Christmas season as you have learned from several of Emma’s stories about the Commander Turkey. 

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18 NKJV)

Here are some of the decorations as you enter the zoo:

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Guineafowl – Numididae

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Lowry Park Zoo

Gospel Presentation

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Reginald the Turkey Commander on Christmas

Turkeys in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Reginald and a Captain in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Reginald the Turkey Commander on Christmas

by Emma Foster

Once again the turkeys were gathering together. They wanted to celebrate Christmas.The hunters were going out into the backwoods to hunt turkeys. The turkeys were going to their secret fortress in the snow. It was a little bit harder getting to the fortress because of the snow. There was a large snowstorm coming so the turkeys had to trudge through the snow and scoop it out of the way with shovels they had to bring with them. Reginald needed help dragging a small Christmas tree to the fortress. All of the turkeys had their Army helmets on in case any hunters were nearby.

Turkeys in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Turkeys in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Because of the cold, the turkeys brought lots of blankets to keep them warm. The blankets were piled on a sled. The turkeys also wore camouflage coats and mittens.
Since it was so cold, Reginald built a fire and the turkeys roasted marshmallows. Reginald also brought candy canes.

After they ate all the candy canes and marshmallows, the turkeys gathered around the small Christmas tree and sang Silent Night. This was their favorite Christmas song because the hunters were not shooting so it really was a silent night.

Christmas Ham ©WikiC

Christmas Ham ©WikiC

The good thing was it was so cold that the hunters had to stay at home and have ham for Christmas dinner instead of turkey. That meant all the turkeys were safe.

Merry Christmas!
Gobble, Gobble!


I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (Psalms 13:6 KJV)

Lee’s Addition:

Thanks again, Emma, for keeping us informed about Reginald and his turkey friends.

I asked Emma if she would give us another tale about Reginald for Christmas and she has produced this fine new tale. Emma is a fine young Christian teenager.

Check out her other writings:

Other Guest Writers

Wordless Birds

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Happy Thanksgiving – Turkey

The Fountain re-published this article I wrote back in 2009 and decided to re-post it here also. (with editing) Happy Thanksgiving, 2012!

Today, many of us here in the United States ate turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Luckily, many turkeys will survive our holiday and continue to roam around. Here locally in Polk County, Florida, I see a “rafter” of turkeys (name for a group of turkeys – incorrectly called a “gobble” or “flock”) from time to time. Near Bartow I have seen them many times in rafters up to 11 turkeys. Near Circle B Bar Reserve, I have seen other groups up to 8 turkeys.

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix

The domestic turkey is a descendant of the Wild Turkey and features prominently in the menu of the Canadian and U.S. holidays of Thanksgiving and that of Christmas in many countries.

The Turkey is in the Galliformes Order and in the Phasianidae (Pheasants, Fowl & Allies) Family. There are two turkeys – Wild Turkey – Meleagris gallopavo and the Ocellated Turkey – Meleagris ocellata. The Wild is native to North American forrests and the Ocellated is native to the Yucatan Peninsula forrests. They are relatives of the Grouse family. Both Turkeys have a “distinctive fleshy wattle that hangs from the underside of the beak and a fleshy protuberance (flap of skin) that hangs from the top of its beak called a snood.” Turkeys are the heaviest member of the Galliformes order. The females are smaller and duller than the males. The male weighs from 11-24 lbs (5-11 kg) [record=38lbs] and measures 39-49 in (100-125 cm). They also have from 20,000-30,000 feathers.

 Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) ©USFWS

Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) ©USFWS

Congressional Proclamations from CreationWiki.
“The United States Congress set December 18, 1777, as a day of thanksgiving on which the American people “may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor” and on which they might “join the penitent confession of their manifold sins . . . that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance.” Congress also recommends that Americans petition God “to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.'”[1]
Congress set November 28, 1782, as a day of thanksgiving on which Americans were “to testify their gratitude to God for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience to his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.”

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)

See:
WhatBird’s Wild Turkey
Wikipedia’s Wild Turkey and Ocellated Turkey
Video of an Ocellated Turkey and a Wild Turkey displaying on Internet Bird Collection

Thanksgiving Turkey

Tomorrow, many of us here in the United States will be eating turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Luckily, many turkeys will survive our holiday and continue to roam around. Here locally in Polk County, Florida, I see a “rafter” of turkeys (name for a group of turkeys – incorrectly called a “gobble” or “flock”) from time to time. Near Bartow I have seen them many times in rafters up to 11 turkeys. Near Circle B Bar Reserve, I have seen other groups up to 8 turkeys.

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix

The domestic turkey is a descendant of the Wild Turkey and features prominently in the menu of the Canadian and U.S. holidays of Thanksgiving and that of Christmas in many countries.

The Turkey is in the Galliformes Order and in the Phasianidae (Pheasants, Fowl & Allies) Family. There are two turkeys – Wild Turkey – Meleagris gallopavo and the Ocellated Turkey – Meleagris ocellata. The Wild is native to North American forrests and the Ocellated is native to the Yucatan Peninsula forrests. They are relatives of the Grouse family. Both Turkeys have a “distinctive fleshy wattle that hangs from the underside of the beak and a fleshy protuberance (flap of skin) that hangs from the top of its beak called a snood.” Turkeys are the heaviest member of the Galliformes order. The females are smaller and duller than the males. The male weighs from 11-24 lbs (5-11 kg) [record=38lbs] and measures 39-49 in (100-125 cm). They also have from 20,000-30,000 feathers.

 Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) ©USFWS

Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) ©USFWS

Congressional Proclamations from CreationWiki.
“The United States Congress set December 18, 1777, as a day of thanksgiving on which the American people “may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor” and on which they might “join the penitent confession of their manifold sins . . . that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance.” Congress also recommends that Americans petition God “to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.'”[1]
Congress set November 28, 1782, as a day of thanksgiving on which Americans were “to testify their gratitude to God for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience to his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.”

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)

See:
WhatBird’s Wild Turkey
Wikipedia’s Wild Turkey and Ocellated Turkey
Video of an Ocellated Turkey and a Wild Turkey displaying on Internet Bird Collection