10 Fun Turkey Facts

This week we celebrate all that we are thankful for around the traditional roast turkey. But what do you really know about that magnificent bird?

  1. The North American Turkey was nearly hunted to extinction by the early 1900s when there was just 30,000 birds left. Today, there are nearly 7 million.
  2. The dangly appendage on the male turkey’s head is called a snood. Snood length is associated with health, and females prefer a longer snood.
  3. A turkey’s gender can be determined by their feces. Males produce a spiral shaped dropping, while female droppings are shaped like the letter J.
  4. Contrary to common belief, Benjamin Franklin never proposed the turkey as the national bird. He did, however, sing its praises to his daughter in a letter, saying “the turkey is a much more respectable bird” than the bald eagle.
  5. Individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how they recognize each other.
  6. Wild turkeys can fly up to 55 mph over fairly short distances. Domesticated turkeys can’t fly at all.
  7. Turkeys have 5000-6000 feathers.
  8. Big Bird, while technically a canary, is made out of turkey feathers. Several thousand turkey feathers are washed and dyed for each costume.
  9. Turkeys can memorize their territory, plan ahead, and recognize patterns, but they’ll still attack anything that looks like a threat – including their own reflection.
  10. Babies (poults) are almost fully self-sufficient, being born with down feathers and the ability to walk and eat without assistance. Mom mostly sticks around for added protection, but that’s about all she’s needed for.


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