'Hot' for Turkey

Science Friday is sharing Thanksgiving science tidbits with us all week long. Gobble Gobble! With its fanned plumage and bold strut, a male wild turkey’s display conjures images of Americana and festive feasts. But this bird’s grandstanding isn’t intended for human eyes—it’s for female turkeys who actually use it to discern a male’s genetic prowess. How exactly she parses performances to pick a suitor can be a fairly complex enterprise, but thanks to the research of Richard Buchholz of the University of Mississippi, we have some clues as to what a female turkey finds “hot” in a male.