Quick Facts

29 Fun Wild Turkey Facts

This is a colorful, strutting male Wild Turkey.
  1. Wild Turkeys were becoming extinct in the early 1900’s with only 30,000 birds left
  2. There are 6 different subspecies of turkeys, including the Ocellated Wild Turkey
  3. Today, there are 7 million Wild Turkeys living throughout the U.S.
  4. Wild Turkeys roost overnight in trees, despite their large girth
  5. Wild Turkeys have powerful legs and can run up to 25 miles per hour
  6. Wild Turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour!
  7. Male turkeys are known as “toms” or “gobblers,” while juvenile males are called “jakes”
  8. Female turkeys are called “hens,” while juvenile females are called “jennies”
  9. Baby turkeys are called “poults”
  10. A group of turkeys is called a “rafter” or a “flock”
  11. The adult male’s “gobble” mating call attracts females
  12. Wild Turkeys also make “purr,” “yelp,” and “kee-kee” sounds
  13. The “gobble” call can be heard up to one mile away
  14. Wild Turkeys can eat acorns swallowed whole
  15. Wild Turkeys eat a variety of seeds, nuts, berries, plants and more
  16. The male Wild Turkey’s droppings are J-shaped, while the female’s look more like spirals
  17. Wild Turkeys are rare in the western part of the U.S.
  18. Wild Turkeys live year-round in 49 of the 50 states, except for Alaska
  19. Alaska and Hawaii are the only two states without naturally-occuring Wild Turkeys
  20. The turkey is “a much more respectable bird” than the bald eagle, according to Benjamin Franklin
  21. Wild Turkeys often live between 3 to 5 years.
  22. The oldest known Wild Turkey lived at least 13 years!
  23. Smaller than domestic turkeys, Wild Turkeys weigh between 5 to 20 pounds
  24. The Wild Turkey’s head can be red, pink, white or blue
  25. Their bald head and fleshy facial wattles change color within seconds to show excitement
  26. The “snood” is the flap of skin hanging down over a Wild Turkey’s bill
  27. Wild Turkeys stay within the same range year-round
  28. Wild Turkeys can become nomadic to find seasonal food sources
  29. 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/>.

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