Here are some fascinating facts about what Benjamin Franklin thought should be our national bird:
- The Wild Turkey can be found in all contiguous 48 states.
- A century ago, with a population of only about 30,000 birds, this species was on the path to extinction because of over hunting and habitat loss; today, thanks to coordinated management activities, there are roughly 5.5 million Wild Turkeys in the U.S.
- When turkeys scratch on the ground in search of food, most of the time they do so once with one foot, twice with the second foot, then once more with the first foot.
- Turkeys nest in simple depressions formed in dead leaves on the forest floor, typically at the base of a tree or under a brush pile.
- Females often lay a few eggs in each other’s nests and sometimes even in nests of other species, such as Ruffed Grouse and Ring-necked Pheasant.
- Male turkeys provide no parental care.
- Shortly after their eggs hatch, female turkeys (hens) and their broods join together in bands of sometimes more than 30 birds.
- When a male turkey is excited, his head turns blue; when he is angry, it turns red.
- Males often run from danger while females usually fly.