- Adult male turkeys are called toms, while young males are called jakes
- Adult female turkeys are called hens, and young females are called jennies
- A group of turkeys is a rafter, and a baby turkey is a poult
- Turkeys sport caruncles, snoods, and waddles. Caruncle-the red skin from the head to the back of the neck. Snood-the long strip of red skin at the base of the beak. Waddle-bright red skin that hangs from the neck.
- Turkeys can fly, but they would rather run. The turkey will fly a few feet off the ground to evade a predator and to roost in a tree at night.
- The wild turkey can run up to 25 miles per hour!
- Turkeys have excellent eyesight. During the day, their eyesight is 3 times better than human eyesight–but considerably less acute at night.
- Turkeys can live to be 12 years old.
- Turkeys lay between 12-18 eggs at a time in shallow leaf beds, but the eggs are very vulnerable to predators like raccoons, badgers and snakes. The hen will roost on the ground while her eggs incubate.
- A tom turkey struts more than 5000 feathers!
Benjamin Franklin thought the wild turkey was more representative of America than the bald eagle. Mr. Franklin described the wild turkey as “a true original Native of America, Though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage that would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards.”
Before moving to Minnesota, I had never seen a wild turkey…now to see a rafter of turkey in my yard is a near daily occurrence–much to my dogs’ irritation…