Welcome to Week #24 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #24 challenge gives way to birds that are hunted or consumed by humans.
The feature image shows a couple of wild turkeys grazing at Salt Springs along the road leading to the boat ramp in Fort McCoy, Florida which is inside the Ocala National Forest. Next Thursday, November 26th is the day we celebrate Thanksgiving. While I’m not a vegetarian, my diet is about 85% vegetarian. Not because of how I feel about birds, but because I haven’t been able to consume chicken or pork (minus bacon) since I had my gallbladder out seven years ago. It doesn’t smell or taste good to me. Many weird things happened after that surgery. My taste buds totally whacked out. For example, I didn’t like avocados or guacamole. Now it is one of my favorite foods. Since we only eat turkey once per year in my house, I can force myself to eat a bit of it with some cornbread stuffing and gravy. I hope many of you are vigilant about gatherings and social distancing. Frank & I normally travel and go birding during this time, but it is not on the agenda this year. No flights, no family gatherings. My daughter & her boyfriend may come over, but it will not be typical. We will still be thankful for what we have and that no one in our immediate family has been infected. STAY SAFE EVERYONE!
Birds are hunted for sport and for eating. While my opinion is exceptionally one-sided, I do not condone the killing of birds for sport. I know that it is necessary to thin species out like big wild game such as deer and elk, but I don’t see the point of it unless it is to put food on the table. Many of our favorite edibles are farm raised. For many years, these birds have been kept in small quarters and not allowed to graze and be happy birds. In the last few decades, awareness has shown new trends of “grass fed”, “organic fed” “no hormones or antibiotics” and “happy free range” which indicates these birds have a happy life while they are here. It keeps them from being stressed out and makes our food a lot tastier.
Sorry this is blurry. It is a photo (yes actual printed photo) from when I was shooting film. Couldn’t find the negatives. Took a photo with my IPhone. Best I could get. These two started sparring after I took the shot. The shot with my Nikon, not a gun. It was such a great memory, I had to share it.
I saved this long-legged bird for this week in honor of Thanksgiving. They are large plump birds that can be 43.3-45.3 inches tall (110-115 cm). They are best known for their gobble. They travel in flocks and their diet consists of nuts, berries, insects and snails they forage on the ground. They live in mature forests but can be seen on the edge of forests and along roads. They were hunted in excess, but have been reintroduced to habitat and are thriving once again. Every state has a “turkey season” for hunters. They receive a quota and cannot kill more than they are alloted.
8…9…10…Ready or Not, here I come? Are you hiding behind the tree? Peek-a-boo I see you!
Sandhill Cranes are hunted in portions of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. These states are all in the Central Flyway. Nebraska is the only state in this migratory route that doesn’t have a Sandhill Crane sport hunting season. In Alabama, hunting season has come back but residents are only allowed to kill three per permit. It is said that these birds taste like pork chops.
The Northern Bobwhite has been on the decline and the Masked Bobwhite is extinct in Arizona and on the endangered list in Mexico. This guy is native to Canada, the United States, Mexico and Cuba. Northern Bobwhites have been introduced in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. It is member of the group species called New World quails. They are distinguished by their bob-white whistle. Their buff colors often camouflage them to their surroundings. If we hadn’t heard this one and two others in nearby trees, we would have never spotted it. It was at the entrance to Okefenokee Wildlife Management Area.
Gambel’s Quail are ground-huggers that would rather run than fly. They are fast too! They are found in desert climates in the western part of the United States and Mexico. Both the male and female sport the forward-facing crest that is shaped like a comma, however the male has the distinguished black face. This quail is hard to hunt because of its habitat for the human and/or hunting dogs. A lot of cacti, thorny mesquite trees and venomous snakes make it a difficult task. Not to mention, hunters prefer to shoot birds that fly and the Gambel’s Quail prefers not to do that.
Just an example of how different states work for limiting the hunting of certain birds at certain times.
Duck is a delicacy in the culinary world. I’ve never eaten duck and never intend to. They are fatty and just don’t whet my appetite. I mean look at that face! The Mallard is a dabbling duck and is the ancestor to nearly all domestic ducks except the Muscovy Duck.
The American Coot swims like a duck and looks similar to one, however they don’t have webbed feet. They can be found by the thousands with other waterfowl. They call North America, Central America and Northern South America home. You can find them all over the Caribbean Islands as well.
Canada Geese have expanded their range in recent years. We have been seeing more of this species in Florida than ever before. They are now on the list of birds that can be hunted in Florida. A full list can be found at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission here.
The colonel at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has made a living off of fried chicken. Not only do we eat chickens, but their eggs are a great source of protein as well. The Washington Post reported in April, 2019, that Americans are eating approximately 279 eggs per person per year. That’s a lot of eggs! It may be higher now with the pandemic because more people are home cooking. Chicken eggs are the most prevalent, but quail eggs are becoming more popular by professional chefs.
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Until next week…Week #24 – Birds hunted or consumed