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

Morgues.
Morning Start: Cruise ships have their own morgues

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
A bittersweet celebration: Kelowna Legion preps for city’s 100th Remembrance Day ceremony

Just 50 people allowed to attend Nov. 11 ceremony; RCMP will be present to keep public away

Superintendent of the Kelowna RCMP, Kara Triance. (Capital News file)
Non-violent crime, small population contributes to Kelowna’s crime rate spike, says RCMP

Kelowna RCMP is assuring the public the city is a safe place

RCMP cruiser drives through an alley near Rose Avenue. Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News.
Dozens of police take down man by Kelowna General Hospital

RCMP swarmed the area about 4 p.m. Thursday

Rutland Middle School in Kelowna. (File photo)
Replacing Rutland Middle School still a priority: Central Okanagan School District

Further delay to replace aging middle school disappoints Rutland Middle School parent advisory committee

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

On Nov. 8, 2017 as the search was called off, white tents and black privacy fencing were no longer visible at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek and fewer police vehicles were present. (File photo)
Several police vehicles seen at Sagmoen farm in Shuswap Thursday night

RCMP at Silver Creek property where the remains of an 18-year-old Vernon woman were found in 2017

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Crime up 31 per cent in Vernon in 2019: Statistics Canada

Increase includes a 45 per cent rise in violent Criminal Code violations

Most Read