Well, it appears that in those times everywhere you looked there was a wild turkey strutting about. Not just that, but he admired the gorgeous mating display once the male’s tail feathers were unfurled in all their glory.
Nowadays we’re more comfortable with the domesticated white turkey which we enjoy at Thanksgiving. Incidentally, why is the national turkey white? Several years ago our wild turkey was bred with the Mexican turkey leading to the color change. There’s still evidence of the wild turkey in the dark brown tail hints of this kind we eat now.
If You Feed Wild Turkeys?
They scratch in the dirt and overturn branches and leaves. When you’ve got a foot of snow covered by a coating of ice, it is extremely tough to do any scratching for food. That’s the reason I am a strong advocate of collecting acorns in the fall so I can leave them under my bird feeders for the turkeys when snow is heavy. I also scatter sunflower seeds and cracked corn in addition to the snow to the wild turkeys. I get a great satisfaction from helping them to survive the worst winter conditions.
Besides acorns, they love the other sorts of nuts: hickory nuts, hazel nuts, butternuts, etc.. Fruit is another component of their diet, in addition to sunflower and other flower and weed seeds, insects and salamanders. We’ve got loads of salamanders hiding under stones in our forests, and there is no lack of insects either.
I’ll never forget one particular morning when I started up in the woods for a walk. I had disturbed a flock of wild turkeys that was roosting in the tall white pines! They are far safer there than on the floor where foxes, wild dogs, coyotes, etc. find them easy night prey.
How Quickly Can They Fly?
They are also able to run. Their best running speed is 20 mph! They maintain a great steady walking pace also. Covering a few miles per day is normal for them.
How Many Infants Do They Have?
A female turkey will pick a bush in the forests under which she’ll lay a clutch of tan and brown speckled eggs from 4 to 17 in number. Mama will indulge her girls by feeding them, but just for the first couple of days. She roosts on the floor with her infants, also known as’poults’, in this time. After that they’re on their own and quickly learn how to forage for themselves. But, her young will travel with her at a flock all year right through the winter.
Male turkeys are silent, secretive and elusive the majority of the time. However when they want to secure their harem of hens, they make clucking and peeping sounds, and occasionally a low drumming comes from deep in their throats.
The female is a drab brown/black colour and very thin in the spring. But come fall all of the turkeys take on a much plumper shape. Another flap of skin that hangs over their beaks is known as a’snood’. Both may turn bright red once the turkey is agitated or excited.
How Heavy Do Wild Turkeys Grow?
Needing to make their way from the wild retains turkeys slimmer than their national counterparts. They’ll weigh from 5 to 19 lbs. Their body measures a hefty 3- to nearly 4 feet with a wingspan of 4 to nearly 5 feet!
The average life span of a turkey in the wild is just three or four decades. Considering all the predators out there and the survival challenges, you can see why that’s the case.
Also, their territories are decreasing rapidly. Their fondness for hardwood forests which are connected to grassy fields provides them with good food resources, roosting and hiding areas. Regrettably, hardwood forests are being cut down to provide materials for human habitation.
Despite their size, these terrific birds can take into the air in an explosive burst of speed. They could turn their heads up to 270 degrees, and they have excellent hearing and vision. They could dazzle us with their courtship displays and dances.
I believe Old Ben was right. They could have made an superb national symbol!