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10 Amazing facts about Wild Turkey

A small group of young wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
Wild Turkey Flock
A Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) looks over a small flock.
Looking for a Fight

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It’s Thanksgiving time again! I can’t think of a better time to talk about Wild Turkey than on Thanksgiving Day! Here are ten incredible facts about the wild turkey that will boggle the mind of your most knowledgeable guests. Now, let’s get started so you can get back to that pumpkin pie!


We have all heard the story about Ben Franklin wanting to have Wild Turkey as the national bird of the USA. In his opinion, the wild turkey was a “bird of courage”. But did you know that the turkey was believed to be sacred in the Mayan and Aztec cultures?


In the early 1900s, Wild Turkeys were on the brink of extinction, with only 200,000 birds left. Don’t worry though, through conservation efforts there are now approximately 6.5 million wild turkeys in the United States today.


Turkeys are known to have over 20 distinct vocalizations. The males produce a gobble that can be heard from a mile away.


Individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how they recognize each other.


Turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals and are highly social. They have lasting social bonds with each other and can be very affectionate; a lot like dogs


Turkeys are fast! They can run up to 18 miles per hour and fly up to 50 miles per hour.


Turkey droppings tell a bird’s sex and age (seriously, I couldn't make this up). The male’s droppings are j-shaped, and the female’s droppings are spiral-shaped. The larger the diameter, the older the bird.


The area of bare skin on a turkey’s throat and head vary in color depending on its level of excitement and stress. When excited, a male turkey’s head turns blue, when it’s ready to fight it turns red.


The long object over a male’s beak is called a snood and the skin that extends from the beak to the neck is a wattle.

FACT #10

An adult turkey has a lot of feathers! About 5,000 to 6,000 of them.

A female Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) roosts in a pine tree.
Evergreen Turkey

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Until next time, keep the sun behind you and the birds in view


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