Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Wild Turkey Trivia

Posted by  //  December 3, 2018  //  Articles, Creature Feature

While the domestic turkey usually graces most holiday tables, let’s learn a little about the wild turkey, a game bird symbolic of American traditions.

Adult male turkeys are called toms and adolescent males are jakes.  Adult females are called hens, while young females are jennies.  Babies are called poults.  A group of turkeys is a flock or rafter.  Only toms make the trademark gobble, which can be heard a mile away.  Hens cluck, yelp and purr.  An adult wild turkey has around 5,500 feathers, many of which are strikingly iridescent.  Modified feathers that hang from the tom’s breast are called a “beard.” He struts and fans his tail to attract hens.  When agitated, a turkey’s bald head can change color within seconds, from white to pink or red and blue. A wild turkey can fly very fast over short distances – around 55 mph!  Its flexible “wishbone” serves to connect muscles and aids the wings in flight. The World Record wild turkey weighed 37.6 lbs (a true butterball)! By the early 1900’s, America’s wild turkeys were nearly eradicated due to overhunting and habitat loss, but thanks to successful restoration programs, they eventually recovered.  A recent decline in numbers has led to stricter management practices. Let’s give thanks for wild turkeys!

Article & Photo by Margie Manthey

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