Wild Turkeys - male (left) and female (right)...
Thanksgiving is here and I couldn't think of a bird any more appropriate to feature this month than the Wild Turkey. Turkey hunting is a popular pastime for sportsmen all over the United States. But whether you've ever seen or heard a Wild Turkey at the edge of a forest, or only know them from their domesticated descendants seen at the fair and or whether you are a turkey or tofurkey eater, I hope you enjoy learning about the beautiful species that has become the centerpiece of the traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving.
Did you know....
What attracts a Wild Turkey?
One of the Wild Turkeys favorite habitats is on the edge of a forest or woodland bordered by fields. Oaks are a particular favorite plant of choice for Wild Turkeys because they rely on acorns as a protein, fat and nutrient rich food source during the fall, winter and early spring. If you'd like to make your yard more attractive to the Wild Turkeys in your area, here's a list of native garden plants and trees that they enjoy.
Oaks (red, chestnut and black oak)
Beech (for the beech nuts)
What to look for -
Wild Turkeys can often be found on forest edges bordering fields, especially in areas containing native oaks. Look for them foraging along the border of the forest. In the evening you may see them flying into their nighttime roost in the trees. Wild Turkeys are often found in flocks in the fall and winter. They usually consist of a number of hens and their offspring from that year and can reach number of up to 200 individuals though the flocks are usually smaller in size.
Zoom In: Species Profile
The scientific name of the Wild Turkey is Meleagris gallopavo. Males of the species are about 48 inches in length, while females are around 36 inches in length. Male and female differ in appearance. Both male and female are dark brown with black markings and bronze colored glossy sheen and fan-shaped tail with reddish brown, tan or white tail feather tips. The Wild Turkey's head and neck is bare, with bluish or reddish wattles. Male has spurs on his legs and fancy looking longer feathers in the middle of his chest - called a 'beard'. The female is smaller than the male, without spurs and usually beardless. Wild turkeys look similar to domestic turkeys, but domestic turkeys are far more tame and usually a different color.
The voice of the Wild Turkey is a gobbling call, much like a domestic turkey. The Wild Turkey's preferred habitat is in the oak or mixed pine and oak forests. They can sometimes be seen in fields, gardens and backyards on the edge of the forest. The Wild Turkey's nest consists of a shallow 'depression' on the ground, with a lining of grass and other plant material. The female lays 8 - 15 creamy colored eggs with brown speckles.
The Wild Turkey is a year round resident throughout its range. As mentioned above, Wild Turkeys can be found in parts of 49 of the 50 US (except Alaska), also throughout much of Canada and Central America.
This month I've created for you
a Wild Turkey coloring page. To download, simply
click here. Then
print and enjoy!
Thanksgiving is one of the most wonderful times of the year. Its a holiday that we celebrate with our loved ones to thank God for all of His blessings that He's given us each day throughout the year. In conclusion this month, I'd like to share one of my favorite Bible verses about thanksgiving....
"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms." - Psalm 95:1-2 NKJV
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! God bless you!
By, Jessi Wasell