Wild turkeys in Beaver Valley head for cover as Thanksgiving weekend approaches. Jim Bailey photo.

Wild turkeys in Beaver Valley head for cover as Thanksgiving weekend approaches. Jim Bailey photo.

10 facts about the unsung hero of Thanksgiving

Did you know that wild turkeys can run up to 19 km an hour?

This weekend marks Thanksgiving but how much do you know about the turkey?

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says that the humble turkey has become so common this time of year we rarely think of its beginnings.

“The shining star of Thanksgiving spreads, this native North American gobbler wasn’t always in abundance,” the group said in a statement.

“In the early 1900s, wild turkeys had all but disappeared from some parts of Canada due to unregulated logging and hunting.”

Today, wild turkeys are found in seven Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, southern Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, southeast Saskatchewan, southwest Alberta and B.C.’s southern interior.

Here are 10 other fun facts:

  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.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Turkey

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

Just Posted

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

Four friends were heading to their home on Highway 6 just south of Silverton on the evening of Dec. 25, 2020, when the people in the front of the vehicle saw what looked like a “huge, man-like figure” on the side of the road. (Pixabay.com)
Possible Bigfoot sighting shocks, excites Silverton residents

‘I didn’t see the creature myself, I saw the prints’

Police were called after a man was witnessed stabbing tires with the fence post. Photo: Thanh Serious on Unsplash
Trail RCMP eport erratic man, suspicious fire and prohibited driver

Brief from the media release from the Trail and Greater District RCMP detachment

The Rossland Public Library is one of 11 beneficiaries of the annual Community Grant Funding Program. Photo: Google Maps
City of Rossland awards community grants

Rossland non-profit groups beneficiaries of over $280,000 in community grant funding

Image: Trophy Town trailer
Trophy Town trailer previews film release

Trophy Town, the story of the ‘39 and ‘61 Trail Smoke Eaters set for possible release in March

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Andre Robert won $500,000 through a Lotto Extra ticket on Dec. 23, 2020. Photo: Jeanne d’Arc Allard
Creston resident wins $500k through Lotto ticket

“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not.”

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Purcell Wilderness Conservancy expanded with 18 hectares of previously privately-owned land. Photo from BC Parks.
Purcell Wilderness Conservancy expanded following Provincial land acquisition

18 hectares of waterfront added to critical wildlife habitat

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read