WILD "OSCEOLA" TURKEY
Wild turkeys range throughout the forested eastern & western United States. The smallest subspecies is unique to Florida & is called the "Osceola" turkey. It was named after the Seminole Chief, Osceola. A mature male (tom) like this one strutting in the early morning, may weigh only 16 - 18 pounds in his peak breeding state. Feathers of the Osceola turkey have iridescent green and red colors, with less bronze than the eastern subspecies.
On July 4 1776, the First Continental Congress selected a committee to design the Great Seal of the United States of America. Ben Franklin considered the turkey, not the eagle, as a fitting emblem for the Great Seal. To his dismay, Franklin's turkey was outvoted by a large margin. In a letter to his daughter he wrote: " For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.... For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America..."
Its coloration & behavior are ideal for the flat pine woods, oak & palmetto hammocks, and swamp habitats of Florida. An estimated 80,000 Osceola turkeys roam southern Florida.