Turkey saved from chop

PHOENIX the Turkey won’t be required to rise from the ashes this Christmas.

The fortunate bird is spending a cool Yule at Dublin Zoo’s City Farm with loving on her agenda.

Fated for the butcher’s chop a week ago, Phoenix was given a life-enhancing role when the zoo people plumped for the exotic avian as a mate for their own male bird.

It’s a bit early for the girl to be strutting her stuff, since she only arrived yesterday. But zoo staff hope for romance between the pair.

“She was put into the pen with the male and they seem to be getting on well together,” an insider revealed.

The American bronze-winged turkey is something of a rare bird, with plumage of a shimmering green-bronze hue that appears metallic in the sunlight.

Lucky, too. A million of her less-fortunate mates are ending up being roasted, basted and eaten this Christmas.

Those with refined tastes, however, may feel cheated of their pound of flesh. With a “generous amount” of flavourful dark meat, the bronze bird is acclaimed as one of the best-tasting turkeys.

But for the mate-searching mission by the zoo’s animal care team, Phoenix would be - shudder the thought - dead meat by now.

Incidentally, the Phoenix Park’s latest lady in residence is becoming hugely popular for her snood - the fleshy appendage hanging down over her beak. It’s purely academic at this stage, but she weighs in at 5.5kg.

Scrooge is credited with the Christmas turkey tradition after purchasing the large prize-winning turkey for his Christmas dinner.

Turkeys are native to North America and were domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico 500 years ago. After that, Spaniards took them to Europe.

We produce 3m birds a year for the table and gobble more turkey than any other EU country - 7.5kg per person.

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