Turkey Breath

“O LORD, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Please appoint a new man as leader for the community. Numbers 27:16 NLT

When I can see the breath of a wild turkey, I know it is cold outside. In fact is it was a balmy 15 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) when I took this picture a few days ago. That’s plenty cold enough for me.

A turkey’s body temperature is a bit higher than that of people (106 degrees F. vs 98.6). At that high a body temperature, water can exist as a gas, i.e. vapor. But when it is expelled, or breathed out into cold air, the vapor changes to tiny droplets of water. The droplets are now large enough to be seen, but still small enough to float in the air. This change is call condensation, as the water vapor molecules condense into small drops of liquid.

Even though turkeys are also breathing in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide as we humans do, these gases are not what is visible to us when we see their breath. It has to do with water vapor, temperature, and to some extent, the amount of water (humidity) that is already in the air. The colder it is, the quicker the droplets form, making a larger cloud of vapor.

Moses was about to die when he prayed the above prayer to God found in Numbers 27. Moses had a firm grasp on God’s overseeing power and dominion of all that is on the earth.

When I lived in Africa, I was not far from the equator. So we pretty much had the same amount of daylight and dark each day, month after month and year after year. We did have some seasonal changes as well. The people there experience the rainy and dry seasons, both necessary for planting and harvest. But the changes of the four seasons like we enjoy in the states didn’t happen on the equator. If I’d ever seen the breath of an elephant or giraffe, I’d have known it was time to come home!

Hope you’re well and staying warm wherever you are.

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