Here are 10 facts I bet you didn’t know about the wild turkey.
Although native to North America, the wild turkey got its name from the domesticated variety being imported to Britain in ships coming from the Levant via Spain. The British, at the time, associated the wild turkey with the country of Turkey and the name has stuck ever since.
Here are some more facts you may not have known about the wild turkey.
1. Ben Franklin was a fan.
Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey as the national bird of the United States, based from a letter he wrote to his daughter Sarah Bache on January 26, 1784.
2. Approximately 49 million turkeys are eaten during Thanksgiving by people in the United States and Canada (though most are admittedly not “wild.” Do your part to change that! Harvest one this year!).
3. Wild turkeys are capable of flying at a speed of 55 miles per hour for a short distance.
4. Mature turkeys have approximately 3,500 feathers.
5. Turkeys blush.
Turkeys blush like humans when they are feeling excitement, illness, or romantic intentions.
6. They hide in trees.
Adult turkeys roost in trees at night to stay out of harm’s way from predators. However, since a baby turkey cannot fly until it’s approximately two weeks old, the adult parent will stay on the ground at night to protect its young.
7. Turkeys are loud.
Turkeys’ gobbles can be heard a mile or more away and they are fast on their feet with a top running speed of about 25 miles per hour, or about the same as a human track star.
8. Turkeys almost went extinct in 1930.
We almost had no more turkeys from loss of forest habitat and over-hunting in the United States. Recovery efforts have been successful over the past 85 years and there are now an estimated 9 million wild turkeys in North and Central America.
9. Turkeys have been known to lay as many as 18 eggs in one time.
10. Turkeys have 2 stomachs.
The first stomach is called the glandular stomach, where food is softened and broken down by gastric juices. The food then enters the turkey’s second stomach, the gizzard, where it is ground against the gastroliths.