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Turkey Fun, Facts, and Fiction

November 9, 2022

Here’s a bit of turkey fun, facts, and fiction. For many, including me, Thanksgiving is the traditional beginning of the holiday season—giving thanks and sharing the feast with family and friends. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of football, food, festivities, and turkey, not fun facts about turkeys. Until today.

For more than a decade before COVID, my wife and I delivered Thanksgiving dinners for the Mozel Sanders Foundation, Inc. If you’re unfamiliar with the foundation, it’s an Indianapolis-based charity. “Mozel Sanders Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 1998, that has been feeding the hungry for over 40 years. Last year, the foundation served over 40,000 hot meals on Thanksgiving Day.”

I mention this because, for the first time, they will not be serving turkey on Thanksgiving this year. For 2022 chicken will be the main course. Turkeys are in short supply and expensive. When I heard this, I did a little research which led me down this rabbit… I mean, turkey hole because the turkey may be the most recognized symbol of Thanksgiving. Are you ready for a piece of turkey fun, facts, and fiction?

Turkey Fun, Facts, and Fiction

Fiction. Turkeys aren’t stupid. They can recall the lay of the land in their territory—up to 1,000 acres. Turkeys are highly social creatures that form lifetime bonds.

Fun. Turkey’s vision is three times better than 20/20; they see in color, and their field of vision is 270 degrees.

Fact. Baby turkeys are called poults.

Fiction. If you believe turkeys can’t fly, you’re wrong. They can reach speeds in the air up to 60 MPH. If you try to chase a turkey, it may not need to fly—it can run 25 MPH.

Fun. Turkeys use more than 20 distinct vocalizations, including gobbles, yelps, and kee-kees. Individual turkeys have distinct voices, and you may hear a male gobble up to a mile away.

Fact. The piece of flesh hanging over the male’s beak is called a snoud. Recent studies have connected the snoud with turkey health.

Fiction. Turkeys aren’t big chickens. Although they’re from the same family, they have 45 million years of evolutionary separation.

Fun. The average turkey has between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers.

Fact. In the 1900’s turkeys nearly became extinct in North America. They vanished from New England, where the pilgrims began the Thanksgiving tradition. Their reintroduction is a lauded success story.

Fun. The bare neck of a male turkey changes colors. Blue means the male is excited, and red means he’s ready to fight.

Fiction. Do you believe turkeys sleep on the ground? Females stay on the ground with offspring for their first two or three weeks. The rest of the time, they roost in trees. Despite their size and weight, wild turkeys weigh 16-22 pounds. Turkeys sleep on branches.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Who are you sharing Thanksgiving dinner with this year? Whoever it is, share a few turkey fun facts and fiction with them, but wait until it’s time to carve the turkey or chicken. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Facts sourced from the following:

Audubon Field Guide 

Smithsonian Magazine

If you enjoyed this post you might also like, Cleaning Grandmother’s Pie Pan.

About the Author

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek, and on weekends (after COVID-19), he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management.


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