Does the push for the wild turkey as the official state game bird have merit?

(Jerry Davis photo)

There are rumors that the wild turkey may be considered as a Wisconsin state symbol, adding to the 21 state symbols already in place – plus cheese, a new symbol approved a short time ago by state legislators.

The wild turkey is being proposed as a state game bird. Wisconsin does not have a state game bird symbol at the moment. I believe the process should go back to the state’s fourth-graders, who could vote on several options, including the ruffed grouse, a state bird having much greater numbers in the state than the wild turkey.

The turkey has not been here with an uninterrupted presence. The ruffed grouse has.

The grouse and several other birds are better positioned as a game bird. The turkey is almost a large game animal. Yes it is a bird, but such a large one at that, and it is an important domestic bird, too.

Some think of the turkey as an unstately bird and blame it, right or wrong, for several ecological problems in the state.

The turkey lost out to the bald eagle at the national level. We can go back and see what Ben Franklin said about those two birds at that time.

So many of the state symbols have been put in place for political reasons; I’m not sure whether this is the case here or not with the wild turkey.

Let’s push it back to a fourth-grade class and see what they think. Would they favor the ruffed grouse or some other game birds instead of the wild turkey?

Categories: Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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