- Wild turkeys were first domesticated in Mexico and then exported to Europe.
- Pilgrims brought domesticated European turkeys back to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620.
- The birds were allowed to breed with native wild turkeys, helping increase populations further to provide this vital food source.
- A slightly more intense flavor than chicken.
- Low in fat.
- High in protein.
- Turkey is an inexpensive source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.
- In 1776, Benjamin Franklin was part of a committee appointed to choose appropriate political symbols, among them an official national bird.
- While the wild turkey was never a serious contender for the title, Ben Franklin did express his preference for the turkey. He considered the turkey to be a proud, noble, respectable and admirable bird.
- Wild turkeys see in color and have excellent daytime vision that is three times better than a human’s eyesight and covers 270 degrees.
- They have poor vision at night, however, and can become more wary as it grows darker.
- June is National Turkey Lovers’ Month.
- Wild turkeys have very powerful legs and can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Their top speed in flight is 55 miles per hour.
- These birds are omnivorous and will try many different foods. Most of their diet is grass and grain, but wild turkeys have a varied diet and will also eat insects, berries etc.
- A wild turkey’s gobble can be heard up to one mile away and is a primary means for a tom to communicate with his harem.
- The wild turkey’s bald head and fleshy facial wattles can change color in seconds with excitement or emotion. The birds’ heads can be red, pink, white or blue.
- Just hatched wild turkeys are precocial, which means they are born with feathers and can fend for themselves quickly.
- Toms: adult male.
- Hens: adult females.
- Poults: very young birds
- Jakes: juvenile males
- Jennies: juvenile females.
- Rafter or Flock: a group of turkeys.
- Snood: the flap of skin that hangs down over a turkey’s bill: it can change color, size and shape.