10 facts to gobble up about turkeys

The shining star of Thanksgiving can run 19 km/hr

This weekend marks Thanksgiving in Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada has come up with some pretty fascinating facts to gobble up this holiday weekend.

The first official annual Canadian Thanksgiving took place on November 6, 1879.

One species that has now become so common that we rarely think of, unless it’s on our dinner table, is the humble turkey.

The shining star of Thanksgiving spreads, this native North American gobbler wasn’t always in abundance. In the early 1900s, wild turkeys had all but disappeared from some parts of Canada due to unregulated logging and hunting.

Now, wild turkeys are found in seven Canadian provinces. Their range is southern and western New Brunswick, southern Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, southeast Saskatchewan, southwest Alberta and the British Columbia southern interior.

In honour of Thanksgiving, here are 10 facts to gobble up about wild turkeys, a species that has been documented on Nature Conservancy of Canada properties in different parts of the country:

1. Male wild turkeys are called “toms,” while females are called “hens.”

2. At the start of spring, male wild turkeys get together in clearings to perform courtship displays. They puff up their feathers, lower their wings, fan out their tails and slowly strut, while making their famous gobble sounds.

3. Believe it or not, wild turkeys can fly. At nighttime, they fly up into trees to roost.

4. Wild turkeys were extirpated (locally extinct) from Ontario as a result of habitat loss and over-hunting. Reintroduction efforts began in 1984. Turkeys are now a common sight in these province. and they are continuing to expand their range.

5. An adult turkey can have more than 6,000 feathers.

6. In 2019, the New Brunswick Bird Records Committee added wild turkeys to the province’s official bird list. The province has an established population of approximately 5,000 wild turkeys, many concentrated close to communities along the Canada-United States border.

7. Wild turkeys mostly inhabit forests but often wander into open fields and grasslands to feed, nest and reproduce successfully.

8. Wild turkeys are not fussy eaters. They feed on seeds, hazelnuts, oak nuts, hickory nuts, beech nuts, acorns, apples, fruit, snails, worms and amphibians all year long.

9. Wild turkeys can run at speeds of up to 19 km/hr

10. Certain characteristics of wild turkey droppings, such as their shape and size, reveal the turkey’s gender and age. Female droppings are spiral shaped, while male droppings are J-shaped. The larger the diameter, the older the bird.

(Andrew Holland is National Media Relations Director with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.)

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Neil Fassina will become the new president of Okanagan College on April 1, 2021. (Contributed)
Okanagan College recruits new president

Current Athabasca University president Neil Fassina to replace Jim Hamilton on April 1, 2021

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

Brian Shiosaki helps his neighbours by shoveling the sidewalk near his home in Rutland during a large snowfall in Kelowna Tuesday. (Carli Berry/Capital News)
Special weather statement in effect for Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan could see up to 15 centimeters of snow on Friday

Sprott Shaw College's Lunch with Santa, pictured here at Penticton's 2019 Christmas Parade, will be held virtually this year on Dec. 5. (Western News File)
Penticton Western News Publisher Warren Smith takes a look at the 2020 Best of the South Okanagan supplement appearing in today’s (Wednesday, Oct. 21) paper.
Hot off the Press: The Best of the South Okanagan

Check out Wednesday’s Penticton Western News for winners and favourites

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)
Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

RCMP detachments across B.C. are now flying Pride flags. (Submitted photo)
Man who spent 4 days injured on floor rescued by Kamloops Mountie

The man is recovering in hospital after being rescued by a police officer conducting a well-being check

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

A fundraiser for the Falkland Community Church is underway. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 leaves Falkland Church in a lurch

Annual event/major fundraiser cancelled for first time in 34 years

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Five people with alleged ties to the Red Scorpion Gang are facing numerous charges. (Kelowna RCMP)
5 men linked to Red Scorpion gang charged with gun, drug offences in Kelowna

Police seized a machine gun as well as 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil

Most Read