Great recent article in the WSJ on J.J. Audubon and his fasciantion with the turkey. It was plate #1 in his Birds of America don't you know. Really deserving of its own post, but until you see Birds of America you have no idea of the scale.
Above; Sotheby's auction house worker Mary Engleheart, goes through a rare copy of a book of illustrations by John James Audubon's "Birds of America," in central London, Thursday Sept. 9, 2010. The collection of 435 hand-colored prints, made from engravings of Audubon's illustrations, measures more than 3 feet by 2 feet [i'm liking the bibliographer's term double-elephant folio -ed.]) because Audubon wanted to paint the birds life size. Photo via AP.
Further reading. That copy above from Lord Hesketh’s book collection, is being auctioned by Sotheby's on December 7th.
The whole story of the book and its publication is pretty wild. The University of Pittsburgh has the best zoomable/online version that I have seen. Remember the real plates are bigger than your desk...
[For a counterpoint, head to EvenCleveland to read about Benjamin Franklin and his thoughts on the old bird...]