- Wild Turkeys were becoming extinct in the early 1900’s with only 30,000 birds left
- There are 6 different subspecies of turkeys, including the Ocellated Wild Turkey
- Today, there are 7 million Wild Turkeys living throughout the U.S.
- Wild Turkeys roost overnight in trees, despite their large girth
- Wild Turkeys have powerful legs and can run up to 25 miles per hour
- Wild Turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour!
- Male turkeys are known as “toms” or “gobblers,” while juvenile males are called “jakes”
- Female turkeys are called “hens,” while juvenile females are called “jennies”
- Baby turkeys are called “poults”
- A group of turkeys is called a “rafter” or a “flock”
- The adult male’s “gobble” mating call attracts females
- Wild Turkeys also make “purr,” “yelp,” and “kee-kee” sounds
- The “gobble” call can be heard up to one mile away
- Wild Turkeys can eat acorns swallowed whole
- Wild Turkeys eat a variety of seeds, nuts, berries, plants and more
- The male Wild Turkey’s droppings are J-shaped, while the female’s look more like spirals
- Wild Turkeys are rare in the western part of the U.S.
- Wild Turkeys live year-round in 49 of the 50 states, except for Alaska
- Alaska and Hawaii are the only two states without naturally-occuring Wild Turkeys
- The turkey is “a much more respectable bird” than the bald eagle, according to Benjamin Franklin
- Wild Turkeys often live between 3 to 5 years.
- The oldest known Wild Turkey lived at least 13 years!
- Smaller than domestic turkeys, Wild Turkeys weigh between 5 to 20 pounds
- The Wild Turkey’s head can be red, pink, white or blue
- Their bald head and fleshy facial wattles change color within seconds to show excitement
- The “snood” is the flap of skin hanging down over a Wild Turkey’s bill
- Wild Turkeys stay within the same range year-round
- Wild Turkeys can become nomadic to find seasonal food sources
- June is National Turkey Lovers’ Month and promotes eating turkey during non-major holidays
Share these fun turkey facts with everyone you know and show how much you know about Wild Turkeys at your holiday meal. Happy Thanksgiving!
— Written by Dawn Coutu
Sources and Interesting Links:
Cullinan, Avery. “Bird FAQs: 9 Fun Facts About Turkeys,” Audubon. Nov. 22, 2016. Nov. 13, 2015. <http://www.audubon.org/news/9-fun-facts-about-turkeys>.
Mayntz, Melissa. “20 Fun Facts About Wild Turkeys,” Wild Turkey Trivia, Birding.About.com. Nov. 22, 2016. Mar. 28, 2016. <http://birding.about.com/od/birdprofiles/a/turkeyfacts.htm>.
Mayntz, Melissa. “Wild Turkey Range Map,” Birding.About.com. Nov. 22, 2016. 2016. <http://birding.about.com/od/birdprofiles/a/turkeyfacts.htm>.
Miller, Matt. “Wild Turkey Restoration: The Greatest Conservation Success Story?” Cool Green Science. Nov. 22, 2016. Nov. 26, 2013. <http://blog.nature.org/science/2013/11/26/wild-turkey-restoration-the-greatest-conservation-success-story/>.
Zielinski, Sarah. “14 Fun Facts About Turkeys,” Smithsonian.com. Nov. 22, 2016. Nov. 15, 2012. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/14-fun-facts-about-turkeys-665520/>.