Snood \ˈsnüd\

Turkeys (the domesticated sort which we raise seasonally) are some of the easiest animals on the farm to photograph. Compared to ducks, geese, and chickens, turkeys are very willing subjects. They have a good attitude and don’t immediately assume the worst. When I approach a group on pasture I quickly become the focus of all of their attentions. At first they keep a bit of distance but very soon the group will descend to investigate. After brief consideration the Toms become increasingly concerned that the hens are paying me too much attention. They, the Toms, then forget about me and become focused on gaining back the favor of the hens by strutting in display. While all of this is going on I can move freely among members of the group. You may be interested to know that the prominent, fleshy, appendage is called a snood. Although the National Wild Turkey Federation claims that there it has no known function, Dr. Richard Buchholz of the University of Mississippi believes that the snood may play a role in mate choice decisions made by hens. In particular Buchholz has shown a negative correlation between snood length and rate of infection by coccidia (pathogenic intestinal parasites) such that long-snooded Toms showed some resistance to infection and were preferred by females. Interesting, don’t you think?

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