Turkey Facts for Turkey Day

from Wildlife Promise

Eagle vs. TurkeyAs you gobble down your Thanksgiving feast, here are a few turkey tidbits for the dinner table conversation…

Wild Turkey Facts:

  • The wild turkey was a contender for America’s national symbol, but lost out to the bald eagle.
  • Wild turkeys are native to North America. Populations plummeted after European colonization as a result of over-hunting and habitat loss. Due to strong conservation and reintroduction programs, however, the population has recovered and is growing.
  • Male turkeys are called “toms” and females “hens.”  Baby turkeys are called “poults.”
  • Wild turkeys feed on seeds, berries, fruits, shoots, buds and nuts. They also eat insects and other invertebrates and even reptiles and amphibians.
  • Click here to hear the call of the wild turkey.
  • Wild turkeys live in groups and have a dominance-based “pecking order.”  Those that live in suburbia recognize people and react to them as if they were other turkeys, which can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance.
  • Wild turkeys were an important food source for American Indians and were most likely part of the first Thanksgiving feast along with other native foods such as corn, squash, fish and venison.
  • This Thanksgiving consider serving a heritage breed turkey and help keep traditional turkey breeds in existence. Heritage turkeys are typically pasture-raised and live better lives than animals confined in mass-producing industrial farms. This method is also better for the surrounding environment.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!