Some Fun Facts About Turkeys

In case of a lull in conversation at Thanksgiving dinner, we put together some quick facts about turkeys to impress your family over pie. Before turkeys hit your plate on Thanksgiving Day, those birds had pretty unique lives:

  • When a turkey gets mad, excited, or defensive, its head and neck turn white. The more extreme the emotion, the whiter the color.
  • Turkeys can see in color, but don’t have phenomenal night vision. They can see almost 100 yards and have an incredibly wide field of vision, so they’re tough to sneak up on.
  • They’re also able to run up to 25 miles per hour and fly short distances at up to 55 miles per hour.
  • Turkeys particularly love oak trees, but spend their nights in trees of any kind.
  • Wild turkeys can make 30 different calls or more. Adult male turkeys gobble in the spring to attract the ladies. Humans can hear gobbles from a mile away, but the hens don’t gobble in reply—they click.
  • 45 million turkeys or so are consumed every Thanksgiving, but Benjamin Franklin wouldn’t like the idea of that. In a letter to his daughter, documented by the Smithsonian, Benjamin suggested that the turkey would be a much more noble candidate than the bald eagle for the role of the U.S. national bird.


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