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Greetings, Kittens!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today! Whether you're eating turkey or protecting them, today is as much their day as anyone elses. I thought since I shared my wishes and gratitude last week, I'd give this week to the most committed partner in the Thanksgiving celebration--the turkey. In this case, the Wild Turkey.

Enjoy.

1. Wild turkeys are native to North America and there are five subspecies: Eastern, Osceola (Florida), Rio Grande, Merriam's and Gould's.

2. All five range throughout different parts of the continent. The eastern is the most common and ranges the entire eastern half of the United States.

3. Between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers cover the body of an adult turkey in patterns called feather tracts.

4. Most of the feathers exhibit a metallic glittering, called iridescence, with varying colors of red, green, copper, bronze and gold. The gobbler, or male turkey, is more colorful, while the hen is a drab brownish or lighter color to camouflage her with her surroundings.

5. Two major characteristics distinguish males from females: spurs and beards. Both sexes have long, powerful legs covered with scales and are born with a small button spur on the back of the leg. Soon after birth, a male's spur starts growing pointed and curved and can grow to about two inches. Most hen's spurs do not grow. Gobblers also have beards, which are tufts of filaments, or modified feathers, growing out from the chest. Beards can grow to an average of 9 inches (though they can grow much longer).

6. It must also be noted that 10 to 20 percent of hens have beards.

7. Wild turkeys have excellent vision during the day but don't see as well at night. 

8. Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph, and they can fly up to 55 mph.

9. When mating season arrives, anywhere from February to April, courtship usually begins while turkeys are still flocked together in wintering areas.

10. After mating, the hens begin searching for a nest site and laying eggs. In most areas, nests can be found in a shallow dirt depression, surrounded by moderately woody vegetation that conceals the nest.

11. Hens lay a clutch of 10 to 12 eggs during a two-week period, usually laying one egg per day. She will incubate her eggs for about 28 days, occasionally turning and rearranging them until they are ready to hatch.

12. A newly-hatched flock must be ready to leave the nest within 12 to 24 hours to feed. Poults eat insects, berries and seeds, while adults will eat anything from acorns and berries to insects and small reptiles. Turkeys usually feed in early morning and in the afternoon.

13. Wild turkeys like open areas for feeding, mating and habitat. They use forested areas as cover from predators and for roosting in trees at night.

Bonus Fact: The Wild Turkey population has gone from only 30,000 in the early 1900s to more than 7 million today.

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Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
Great turkey facts! I have a flock of wild turkeys that wander around the farm, and they are fun to watch. I didn't realize they had grown so much in population.

CountryDew@ Blue Country Magic.

Happy Thanksgiving and Thursday Thirteen!
xakara
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
It's amazing that even with threats to their habitats, they've mananged to keep on trucking along!

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Neat information! I've seen them walking along the side of the road a few times. They are quite a sight. Happy Thanksgiving and TT!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
Uh, sorry I forgot to sign my comment again. It's Darla. Hope you have a blessed day!
xakara
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
There are wild turkeys in my state, but not my city. We do have our share of roadrunners to make up for it. *grin*

Happy Thanksgiving!
Kimberly Menozzi
Nov. 24th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
More interesting than one might expect!
I have to laugh, though, because every year my hubby and I see the wild turkeys in East Tennessee and we recall him declaring that a goose was a turkey during his first visit to the States. I took him to the wildlife learning center in the Smokies National Park to show him the difference. LOL!

Happy TT - and Happy Thanksgiving!
xakara
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
Re: More interesting than one might expect!
That is hilarious! I'm so glad you got him to understand before he said something to someone else. *grin*

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
We see wild turkeys here all the time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, often crossing the street in a flock. I never knew they flew that fast. Happy Thanksgiving! http://looseleafnotes.com
xakara
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
I watched a special on them not that long ago, they're fascinating birds!

Happy Thanksgiving!
jenniferleeland
Nov. 24th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
I love the taste of wild turkey! This is great info.
xakara
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
I've never had it, but I've heard great things about it.

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Alice Audrey
I really like that iridescence in their feathers. Funny, I know exactly what you're talking about but I can't remember the last time I looked at a real, living turkey. At least close enough to see the feathers' iridescence.
xakara
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Alice Audrey
I love wild turkey feathers, they're so beautiful. I just don't like the part where the turkey has to be dead to get them. It would be different if domestic turkeys had kept the same iridescence across the board, but oh well. *pout*

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
Shelley Munro
I'm actually surprised that the population has grown. I would have thought they would have diminished. We used to have turkeys at our farm. They're very stupid birds.
xakara
Nov. 24th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Shelley Munro
Wild Turkeys are very intelligent, but just as we've bred domestic turkeys to be too big to fly, we've also decreased their intelligence. Poor things...

(Anonymous)
Nov. 25th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
Very interesting! Thanks for "talking Turkey" to us today.

angel Graham
xakara
Nov. 25th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
Glad you found it interesting. I wish I could have found a link to the nature special on them for everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 25th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
Awesome ...
Cool list, Xakara! I never eat turkey so they don't have me to fear on Thanksgiving Day. LOL

Stephanie Adkins
http://www.stephanieadkins.com/
xakara
Nov. 25th, 2011 10:48 am (UTC)
Re: Awesome ...
I eat turkey, but they don't have to fear me either. If I had to kill my own, they'd all die of old age! *grin*

Happy Thanksgiving!
Adelle Laudan
Nov. 25th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
I never realized how beautiful their tail feathers are. Interesting facts. Happy T13!
Caridad Pineiro
Dec. 1st, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
Happy Thanksgiving!
A little late, but I hope you had a nice one!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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