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At a glance: Turkey facts

In honor of Thanksgiving, fun facts about wild turkeys.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: November 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012


Turkey facts

The domestic, farm-raised turkey most Americans eat on Thanksgiving Day is nothing like the wild turkey feasted on by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. With Thanksgiving Day approaching, here are a few facts from the National Wild Turkey Federation about the tasty game bird chosen as the main course for the first feast:

• Wild turkeys, now almost 7 million strong, were almost extinct in the early 1900s.

• Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph. Usain Bolt, the world's fastest-known human, averaged 23.35 mph during his world-record 100 meters.

• Wild turkeys were argued by Benjamin Franklin to be a more appropriate choice than bald eagles as our national bird.

• Wild turkeys rarely weigh more than 24 pounds while domestic turkeys regularly grow to more than 40 pounds.

• Wild turkeys, which have as many as 6,000 feathers, can fly as fast as 55 mph. Most domestic turkeys are too heavy to fly.

• Wild turkeys have much sharper vision than humans and can view their entire surroundings simply by turning their head.

• Wild turkeys can make at least 28 different vocalizations, with gobbles heard up to one mile away.

• Wild turkeys roost (sleep) in trees, often as high as 50 feet off the ground.

SOURCE: National Wild Turkey Federation