If you’re preparing to feast on that wild turkey you managed to take during the recent fall turkey hunting season, here are some turkey facts you may not have known about, as provided by The Birding Wire. They could add to the lively talk around your holiday table.
* Thought the only turkey sound is gobble, gobble? In fact, turkeys make all kinds of sounds: fly-down or fly-up cackle; kee kee run; excited yelp and more. Hear them all, thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
* Turkey droppings tell a bird's sex and age. Male droppings are j-shaped; female droppings are spiral-shaped. The larger the diameter, the older the bird.
* An adult turkey has 5,000 to 6,000 feathers – count them! – on its body.
* Turkeys may look off-kilter – tilting their heads and staring at the sky – yet they're fast. In a poultry race, they can clock more than 12 miles per hour, beating chickens by three miles per hour. The eastern cottontail leaves them both in the dust as it zig zags away from danger at 18 miles per hour.
* Tom turkeys aren't the only ones that swagger and fan their tail feathers to woo mates and ward off rivals. Some hens strut, too.
* Young turkeys – poults – scarf down insects like candy. They develop more of a taste for plants after they're four weeks old.
* Move over, American bald eagle. Ben Franklin called the wild turkey a "bird of courage" and thought it would make a better national symbol.
Gobble, gobble .... enjoy your Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.