Health Editor’s Note: We had 19 of these fine fellows and girls in the yard about two weeks ago. We see them all the time along the road and make sure we are not going to hit one of them with the car since they usually stay in groups and will take their time crossing a road. While we will have a domestic version of this on the table (well probably two of them since we have a large group coming to celebrate the holiday.), we are not hunters so the ones that frequent the yard are safe to stroll around. I still am excited when I see one…Carol
14 Fun Facts About Turkeys
by Sarah Zeilinski/Smithsonian.com
Next Thursday may officially be called Thanksgiving, but you all know what it really is–Turkey Day! But how well do you really know Meleagris gallopavo, the wild turkey from which the domesticated version, the one likely to be on your plate, was derived?
1 ) Turkeys are more than just big chickens–more than 45 million years of evolution separates the two species.
2 ) The wild turkey was hunted nearly to extinction by the early 1900s, when the population reached a low of around 30,000 birds. But restoration programs across North America have brought the numbers up to seven million today.
3 ) There are six subspecies of wild turkey, all native to North America. The pilgrims hunted and ate the eastern wild turkey, M. gallopavo silvestris, which today has a range that covers the eastern half of the United States and extends into Canada. These birds, sometimes called the forest turkey, are the most numerous of all the turkey subspecies, numbering more than five million.