John Sterling Poole
Turkeys. It is the bird of the day today (88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving)! It is the centerpiece of all Thanksgiving dinners. But it is a bird. In actuality, it is a really interesting bird! This short little article is going to cover some quick facts about turkeys to boost your trivia scores!
Turkeys were nearly hunted to extinction in the early 20th century, but efforts were then made across North America to restore the population. Now, turkeys are well within the normal population. So the next time you hear anyone complaining about needing tags for hunting turkeys, remind them of the reasons behind the tags!
All species of turkeys are in North America!
Baby turkeys are called poults.Turkeys have a varied diet of insects, berries, acorns, and sometimes even small reptiles. The poults will only eat smaller berries and insects.
The red flappy appendage hanging beneath a turkey’s head is called a snood. These snoods will actually change colors depending on the turkey’s mood/health. The snoods on males become a bright red to attract mates during mating season.
There is a big difference between domesticated turkeys and wild turkeys. That difference is that a domesticated turkey weighs almost twice as much as a wild.
Most people think turkeys cannot fly. They are somewhat correct. Domesticated turkeys are too fly to fly while wild turkeys can actually fly at pretty fast speeds. Turkeys, however, do not typically fly far distances.
Turkeys are surprisingly good swimmers.
One of the aspects that makes turkeys so difficult to hunt sometimes is because they have excellent eyesight. And I mean excellent. 20/20 is perfect vision for humans. Turkeys can see three times that magnification. They also have about 100 more degrees of peripheral vision than we do. Turkeys can also see UVA light which identifies predators (and humans) easily.
The gobble sound you can sometimes hear in woods is actually a male calling to females. Females click.
A group of turkeys can be called a flock (if you want to be boring). A much more fun name and correct title for a group is a rafter of turkeys.
Turkeys have two stomachs!
These birds can distinguish each other by sound. They can also visualize a map of their territory, recognized patterns, and plan ahead.
Big Bird from Sesame Street is a turkey! (Hands down my favorite fact of the post.)
The Presidential pardon can date back all the way to Abe Lincoln who did not want to eat on Christmas the turkey his son befriended. However, the first official pardon came from JFK.
National Turkey Lovers’ Month is June.
Turkey was in all likelihood not eaten at the first Thanksgiving!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! We hope to see you on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday! But more importantly: enjoy time today with family and friends, enjoy your meal, and enjoy your bird feeders!