You think spiders are weird? At least I’m not working on turkeys.

Those birds are creepy.

They began with a taxidermically prepared female turkey model and a pen of active males. In order to learn what specifically gets a turkey visually interested in making more turkeys, the two men slowly removed parts of the turkey model, one by one. They detached the feet, the wings, and eventually the entire body of the taxidermied turkey until the stick-mounted head and neck, held like the grimmest puppet, remained.

In their paper “Stimulae Eliciting Sexual Behavior” the scientists write: “Male turkeys presented a body without the head displayed but did not mount. Presenting the head alone (upright) released display behavior followed by ‘mounting’ and copulatory movements immediately posterior to the head.”

That’s a bit of evidence that bozo defending the missionary position didn’t consider. See? Turkey faces are a potent visual stimulus to other turkeys, even when decapitated and impaled on a stick.

I don’t understand how non-vegetarians can even bear to eat those things.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    In Japanese, “turkey” is 「七面鳥」 shichi men chou
    literally “seven face bird”

  2. blf says

    Someone like CMOT Dibbler could easily sell decapitated turkey head on a stick. Or at least what he claims is a decapitated turkey head… probably best not to look too closely (especially when sober) and use lots of mustard. Although what you then do with the “turkey head” after you’ve eaten the stick isn’t too clear.

  3. says

    I think that has more to do with the “collar” that rings the face than the face itself. Or maybe 七面鳥は面子を失うことが怖い鴨. (And, yes, that last character was deliberate. I just wanted to make a really bad pun.)

  4. chigau (違う) says

    tonykehoe #3
    I laffed.
    This is the best I’ve done so far
    a clock shaped like a chicken

  5. wzrd1 says

    Now, I could turn PZ’s statements into an off color joke, I’ll not, I’m sure one and all can figure the joke out.

    Still, I’ve met domestic turkeys personally, a stupider bird one cannot possibly imagined. Lobotomize them, they’ll perform equally in baseline. Squab, erm, excuse me, pigeon, is more intelligent.
    Squab tastes better, overall.
    While smoking on a family member’s livestock area, close to the turkey pen, I field stripped my cigarette and tossed the light a foot or so away, alas, closer to the domestic turkey enclosure. The turkey immediately and repeatedly, attempted to eat the ember.

    Still, duck tastes better.

    I’ll continue eating meat until vitamin B-12 is present in other dietary items.
    Until then, I’m an obligate omnivore.

  6. robro says

    I live in a place with wild turkeys (tho not native, introduced a hundred years ago or more). Their mating behavior is quite famous in the area, sometimes blocking traffic because they take “why don’t we do it in the road” literally. They’re also known to attack (peck at) cars and if you beep at them, they gobble.

  7. chigau (違う) says

    wzrd1 #5
    You ignited tobacco leaves and inhaled the smoke.
    And now you think the turkey was stupid for trying to put out a badly disposed of ember.

  8. microraptor says

    We have wild turkeys in my neighborhood, too.

    Mostly they come down and poop on everything or chase small children.

  9. anxionnat says

    I live in Berkeley and I’ve seen wild turkeys in the regional parks. As far as being stupid, don’t even get me started on the resident peacocks, which were known to cause huge traffic jams and attack letter carriers while displaying in the middle of intersections!

  10. chris61 says

    I don’t understand how non-vegetarians can even bear to eat those things.

    I like mine with stove-top stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

  11. John Harshman says

    #12 kestrel:

    Yeah, but parthenogenetic turkeys produce only males, so it only goes for a single generation. Consequence of a ZW sex determination system.

  12. kestrel says

    @John Harshman, #14: true! But there are still embryos! Just THINK of all the studying that could have gone on this winter!! :-D

  13. says

    I don’t understand how non-vegetarians can even bear to eat those things.

    Omnivore, here, and when it comes to turkey, it has to be done right or it will have zero flavour. Even then, it’s… not my first choice. I’d rather have fish. Or ham.