Don’t be fooled by their reputation for being thoughtless. These roly-poly birds have a few tricks up their wings.
- They Can Fly
They’re not too bad at it, either. A wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) flying at full speed can reach 55 mph. This speediness is only a trait of wild turkeys, though; the domesticated variety was bred to be hefty, not aerodynamic.
- The Birds Were Named After The Country
The turkey is an American bird, so why does it share its name with a country on the other side of the world? Laziness, mostly. Turkish traders had been importing African guinea fowl to Europe for some time when North American explorers started shipping M. gallopavo back to the Old World. The American birds looked kind of like the African “turkey-cocks,” and so Europeans called them turkeys. Eventually, the word turkey came to describe M. gallopavo exclusively.
- They Nearly Went Extinct
Like the Galapagos tortoise and the bison, the turkey is just too delicious for its own good. By the early 20th century, the combination of overzealous hunting and habitat destruction had dwindled the turkey populations down to 30,000. With the help of conservationists, the turkey made a comeback. The birds are now so numerous that they’ve become a nuisance in some parts of the country.
- They’ve Got Two Stomachs
Like all birds, turkeys don’t have teeth, so they’ve got to enlist some extra help to break down their food. Each swallowed mouthful goes first into a chamber called a proventriculus, which uses stomach acid to start softening the food. From there, food travels to the gizzard, where specialized muscles smash it into smaller pieces.
- Female Turkeys Don’t Gobble
Turkeys of both sexes purr, whistle, cackle, and yelp, but only the males gobble. A gobble is the male turkey’s version of a lion’s roar, announcing his presence to females and warning his rivals to stay away. To maximize the range of their calls, male turkeys often gobble from the treetops.
- Eating Turkey Is Not Going To Knock You Out
Turkey meat does contain the amino acid tryptophan, and tryptophan can have a calming effect. However, you’d have to eat a whole lot of turkey—and nothing else—to notice any effect. The sleepy feeling that you feel after the big meal is more likely caused by carbs, alcohol, and generally eating to excess.
- Ben Franklin Never Proposed The Turkey As A National Bird
While it is true that the statesman and inventor had a thing for turkeys, he didn’t object to the bald eagle becoming a symbol of our fledgling nation. However, he did say that M. gallopavo was “a much more respectable Bird.”
- They Sleep In Trees
Due to their aforementioned deliciousness, turkeys have a lot of natural predators. As the sun goes down, the turkeys go up—into the trees. They start by flying onto a low branch, then clumsily hop their way upward, branch by branch, until they reach a safe height.
- Both Male And Female Turkeys Have Wattles
The wattle is the red dangly bit under the turkey’s chin. The red thing on top of the beak is called a snood. Both sexes have those, too, but they’re more functional in male turkeys. Studies have shown that female turkeys prefer mates with longer snoods, which may indicate health and good genes.
- They Have Really Good Vision
Turkeys’ eyes are really, really sharp. On top of that, they’ve got terrific peripheral vision. We humans can only see about 180 degrees, but given the placement of their eyes on the sides of their heads, turkeys can see 270 degrees. They’ve also got way better color vision than we do and can see ultraviolet light.
- They’re Fast On The Ground, Too.
You wouldn’t guess by looking at them, but turkeys can really book it when they need to. We already know they’re fast in the air; on land, a running turkey can reach up to 25 mph—as fast as a charging elephant.
- They’re Smart … But Not That Smart
Turkeys can recognize each other by sound, and they can visualize a map of their territory. They can also plan ahead and recognize patterns. In other ways, they’re very, very simple animals. Male turkeys will attack anything that looks remotely like a threat, including their own reflections in windows and car doors.
- Baby Turkeys Can Fend For Themselves
Baby turkeys, or poults, are precocial. This means that they’ve already got downy feathers when they’re born, and they can walk, run, and get their own food. Turkey moms defend their poults from predators, but that’s about all they need to do. The fluffy chicks are pretty self-sufficient.
- There Was No Turkey At The First Thanksgiving
The written menu listed “fowl,” but this most likely meant duck, goose, or grouse. The pilgrims did have a taste for bald eagle, however, so it’s possible the as-yet-undeclared national symbol was a central part of the feast.
- In The Event Of A Turkey Attack, Call The Police
They might look silly, but a belligerent turkey is no joke. Male turkeys work very hard to impress other turkeys, and what could be more impressive than attacking a bigger animal? Turkey behavior experts advise those who find themselves in close quarters with the big birds to call the police if things get mean. Until the authorities arrive, they say, your best bet is to make yourself as big and imposing as you possibly can. Don’t believe it? Check out this post: Wild Turkeys Fight Back
So, I’m on this rant about Turkeys and came up with this cool list of Turkey Trivia and other useful (or not) information. Did you know?
- The wild turkey is native to Northern Mexico and the Eastern United States.
- Turkeys lived in North America almost ten million years ago .
- The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.
- The American Indians hunted wild turkey for its meat as early as 1000 A.D. They made turkey “callers” out of turkey wing bones. The feathers were used to decorate ceremonial clothing. The spurs on the legs of wild tom turkeys were used on arrowheads and the feathers were used to stabilize the arrows.
- Adult turkeys can have 3,500 feathers.
- Most turkey feathers are composted. Feathers are spread out on fields, then plowed under in the spring. The feathers decompose and fertilize the soil.
- After the female turkey mates, she prepares a nest under a bush in the woods and lays her tan and speckled brown eggs. She incubates as many as 18 eggs at a time.
- The average turkey hen will lay 110 to 115 eggs during a 28-30 week period.
- Turkey eggs hatch in 28 days.
- Turkey eggs are light tan with brown specks and are larger than chicken eggs.
- A turkey egg weighs from 80 grams to 100 grams (3 to 4 ounces).
- A baby turkey is called a “poult”.
- When the babies hatch they flock with their mother all year (even through the winter). For the first two weeks the poults are unable to fly. The mother roosts on the ground with them during this time.
- Wild turkeys spend the night in trees. They roost (perch) on the branches.
- Gobbling turkeys can be heard a mile away on a quiet day.
- Turkeys don’t really have ears like ours, but they have very good hearing.
- A large group of turkeys is called a flock.
- Turkeys are related to pheasants.
- As male turkeys gets older they fight a lot. They may even attack people.
- Turkeys can see movement almost a hundred yards away.
- Turkeys do not see well at night.
- The turkey has an unusual looking bare head with a beak, caruncle, snood and wattle.
- Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.
- The male turkey is called a tom or gobbler. The female turkey is called a hen.
- A turkey has 157 bones!
- According to the Guinness Book of Records the largest turkey raised was 39.09 kilograms (86 pounds) — about the size of a large dog.
- In the wild, Turkeys can live as long as 10 years. They spend their lives roosting in trees and flying at up to fifty miles per hour.
I found this list of serial killers and their signs. It’s very interesting to me that not every sign of the zodiac is represented. It’s made up entirely of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. It’s a little bit disturbing, for me since I’m a Virgo with Sagittarius rising. It is also mildly disturbing that I don’t find this at all surprising.
- Ted Bundy ~ Sagittarius
- Jeffrey Dahmer ~ Gemini
- Ed Gein ~ Virgo
- John Wayne Gacy ~ Pisces
- Mary Bell ~ Gemini
- Leslie Bailey ~ Pisces
- George Chapman ~ Sagittarius
- David Berkowitz ~ Gemini
- Kenneth Bianchi ~ Gemini
- Richard Biegenwald ~ Virgo
- Terry Blair ~ Virgo
- Dean Carter ~ Virgo
- Richard Chase ~ Gemini
- Alton Coleman ~ Sagittarius
- Charles Cullen ~ Pisces
- Andrew Cunanan ~ Virgo
- Albert DeSalvo ~ Virgo
- Donald Henry Gaskins ~ Pisces
- Randy Steven Kraft ~ Pisces
- Timothy Krajcir ~ Sagittarius
- Henry Lee Lucas ~ Virgo
- Richard Ramirez ~ Pisces
- Andras Pandy ~ Gemini
- Paul Bernardo ~ Virgo
- Danny Rolling ~ Gemini
- Arthur Shawcross ~ Gemini
- Gerald Stano ~ Virgo
- Marybeth Tinning ~ Virgo
My disclaimer is that I found the list on Facebook and did not fact check it… so… there’s that!
Over on the Prosperity Project, back in Jan of 2010, I uploaded a thing about Buffy, a sort of introductory story and I was talking about how interesting and informative it might be if we each wrote our own introductory story. Initially, I had the idea of also uploading a blurb about Aragorn, but it was too much. So I said to myself, I’ll just put that part of it here:
Here are the two descriptive paragraphs I found:
“In the Third Age, another tale may be heard, that of Aragorn son of Arathorn, the nine and thirtieth heir in the right line from Isildur. Descended from the faithful of Númenor and whose destiny it was to reclaim the kingship of the fractured realms of Arnor and Gondor.”
“His ways were hard and long, and he became somewhat grim to look upon, unless he chanced to smile; and yet he seemed to Men worthy of honour, as a king that is in exile, when he did not hide his true shape. . . Thus he became at last the most hardy of living Men, skilled in their crafts and lore, and was yet more than they, for he was elven-wise, and there was a light in his eyes that when they were kindled few could endure. His face was sad and stern because of the doom that was laid on him, and yet hope dwelt ever in the depths of his heart, from which mirth would arise at times like a spring from the rock.”
They sound a little intimidating, don’t they? But I thought, what the heck, I wonder what would happen if I made them into a sort of fill in the blanks template. And, VOILA! Here it is:
“In the _________, another tale may be heard, that of _______ (daughter) son of _________, the _____ and _____ heir in the right line from _____ . Descended from the faithful of ______ and whose destiny it was to _______ the _______ of the fractured realms of _____ and _______.”
“(Her) His ways were _____ and ______, and (she) he became somewhat _____ to look upon, unless (she) he chanced to _____ ; and yet (she) he seemed to _____ worthy of _____ , as a _______ that is in exile, when (she) he did not hide his true shape. . . Thus (she) he became at last the most ______ of living _____ , skilled in their crafts and lore, and was yet more than they, for (she) he was _______ , and there was a light in (her) his eyes that when they were kindled few could _____ .
(Her) His face was _____ and ______ because of the ______ that was laid on (her) him, and yet hope dwelt ever in the depths of (her) his heart, from which _____ would arise at times like a spring from the rock.”
Now I need to get to work filling in the blanks and seeing what I come up with. When I get it finished, I’ll post it. If you make a similar one, I’d love to see it!
By the way: This post was migrated from my blogger blog (shirleytwofeathers.blogspot.com) and was first published on 1/20/10. I never did fill the form out… maybe I should do that sometime soon!
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