Meleagris gallopavo

FabianO, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock 
of him: how he jets under his advanced plumes!
We had some local visitors the other day in the form of a "Rafter" of turkeys.  Why "rafter"? No good reason other than a bunch of them could also be termed a 'raft' of logs on a raft...a bunch - a gaggle - egad.

The turkey-cock term has a nifty set of  sources - the importing of the guinea hen from Turkey after 1453 and the reduction of the name to just plain "turkey".  The cooler one  rests with a fellow named William Strickland who was a navigator for Cabot in his voyages to North America in the 16th century (remember your history??) brought back real live North American turkeys to England (Strickland's coat of arms has a turkey on it by writ of the King for introducing the turkey which, as it happens, looked a lot like the Turkey-cock from Turkey....and, the rest is history.  These birds were recognizable by 1602 when Shakespeare wrote that line (above) in Twelfth Night.

The term "packed to the rafters" comes from when turkeys are startled they fly and perch up high - a tree perhaps or, in a barn setting, in the rafters so when a raft of turkeys....well you get it.

There seems to be an endless amount of trivia involved with our turkey.  This should suffice for cocktail hour or a trip to the office water cooler.

Happy to help.