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

The last forum before the election on Saturday focused on health care.
Boundary-Similkameen candidates talk health care over digital forum

The Support Our Health Care Society hosted the forum

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Carmi Elementary students voted through CIVIX Students Vote. (Lesley Evans photo)
Penticton students have their say in B.C. election

Twelve schools, including Carmi Elementary participated in Student Vote

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Members of Summerland council and municipal staff were present on Oct. 22 to officially open the expanded Summerland landfill facility. From left are manager of environmental services Candace Pilling, Coun. Erin Carlson, Coun. Marty Van Alphen, acting mayor Doug Holmes, Coun. Richard Barkwill and Coun. Erin Trainer. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Changes made to entrance of Summerland landfill

Upgrades came at cost of $500,000

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read