Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Bright Side of Turkey Day

Where I come from, there's one true sign that autumn has arrived - the colored turkeys!

Yup, those are real turkeys. The Gozzi family has been dyeing their birds for about 50 years. They won't tell anyone the secret of how they do the actual dyeing, but it appears to be completely harmless: the color will fade a bit in the next week or so, and by Christmas white feathers will be taking over again.

Little kids LOVE this! The turkeys are kept in a wire enclosure and it's always ringed with families as Thanksgiving approaches. I have a bazillion colored feathers around the house collected by either myself or my kids; a large feather is a thrilling find! It's always fun to see which kids will try to feed the birds, which will stick their little fingers through the wire and find out whether a turkey bites (they do), and to what lengths a kid will go to retrieve a really pretty feather.

A few years back we got lucky and arrived when noone else was there except an employee; she let us go in the enclosure to help feed the birds. The kids were beside themselves with glee.

The Gozzis raise the bulk of their birds down South these days; they ship them up here to fulfill orders for the holidays, orders that surely come in large part due to their wild display each year.

Do you have any unusual local traditions for the holidays?

Many thanks to Peg for the killer pix - the birds are REALLY bright this year!


  1. Colored birds!! I just love them!! They look like some colors that I would put in a quilt. Definitely makes a Thanksgiving happier!

  2. Wow! I thought that was a photoshop trick. AMAZING color. That must be a sight in person.

    When I was about 4 I found out that Turkeys bite, too! Just HAD to stick my finger in.

  3. These turkeys are amazing. We dont tend to have many traditions here. The main one being at Christmas to see who can snare the best spot in front of the air conditioner/fan. I love the photos of your trip too. That caterpillar - wow! The frangapani's are in full bloom here at the moment. Thanks.