Trivia Tuesday: Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkey

Every Tuesday we'll share a few fun animal facts with you from experts all over the country. Today we’re focusing on animal that’s on the minds of plenty of Americans this week: the turkey. Our turkey facts come from the National Wild Turkey Federation.

  • There are five subspecies of wild turkeys native to North America. They include the Eastern, which is the most common, the Osceola (Florida), Rio Grande, Merriam's and Gould's.
  • Adult turkeys have between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers in patterns called tracts. Males (called toms or gobblers) sport a variety of colors including red, green, copper, bronze and gold — and most of their feathers have a metallic glittering. Their feathers allow the birds to fly, keep them warm and dry — and give the toms a way to strut their stuff for the ladies (called hens). Males also grow beards that average 9 inches long. Female turkeys have a more muted coloring, often brown or gray, so that they can camouflage their nests.
  • The largest game birds in North America, adult gobblers weigh between 16 and 24 pounds while their female counterparts weigh only 8 to 10 pounds.
  • Turkeys have excellent daytime vision but they have trouble seeing at night.
  • Wild turkeys are faster than you might think— these birds can run at speeds up to 25 mph, and they can fly as fast as 55 mph.
  • The turkey has made a comeback from the brink of extinction in the 1930s. Today, wild turkeys are abundant, with more than 7 million of them living in North America.

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