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Two gobblers challenge off at john Heinz national Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Pennsylvania. (Photo: bill Buchanan/

Wild Facts about Wild Turkeys

Those odd birds at your Thanksgiving table are also wilder than you thought. Amuse your guests through some offbeat turkey facts.

Then walk off the meal at a national wildlife refuge where you may you spy wild turkeys strutting and displaying prefer those in this funny video, filmed at DeSoto national Wildlife Refuge in Iowa and also Nebraska.

Who knows? You could emerge looking much less like a butterball yourself. (Just joking.)

Read on to learn some oddball turkey trivia and wild turkey hideouts.

Wild tom (male) turkeys parade with fanned tail feather at Wichita mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. A tom is likewise known together a gobbler. (Photo: Larry Smith/Flickr an imaginative Commons)

TURKEY fact #1: sufficient with gobble, gobble. Turkeys also cluck and purr.

A wild turkey shows its wattle and caruncles at Parker River nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts. The wattle is a skin flap getting to from the beak to the neck. Caruncles space bumps that flesh that cover the birds’ necks and heads. (Photo: Matt Poole/

TURKEY reality #2: Turkey droppings call a bird’s sex and also age. Male droppings room j-shaped; mrs droppings space spiral-shaped. The bigger the diameter, the enlarge the bird.

A pair that wild Rio Grande turkeys — a tom (left) and a hen — have actually eyes because that each various other at Buffalo Lake nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Texas. (Photo: Robert Burton/

TURKEY reality #3: feathers galore: an adult turkey has 5,000 come 6,000 feather count them!


TURKEY truth #4: Tom turkeys aren’t the only ones that swagger and also fan their tail feathers to woo mates and ward off rivals. Part hens strut, too.

A wild turkey investigates a sound at an excellent Bay national Wildlife Refuge in new Hampshire. (Photo: Matt Poole/

TURKEY reality #5: Young turkeys — dubbed poults — scarf down insects choose candy. Poults develop an ext of a taste for plants after they’re 4 weeks old.

Hey, look in ~ me. No, look in ~ me. Two toms vie because that hens’ attention at Crab Orchard national Wildlife Refuge in Illinois. (Photo: Jim Osborn)

TURKEY reality #6: They may look off-kilter tilting your heads and also staring at the skies yet they’re fast. Turkeys have the right to clock 18 miles every hour ~ above foot and also up come 50 miles per hour in flight.

One jake struts (young male) while one more walks at Sand Lake Wetland monitoring District in southern Dakota. (Photo: Tom Koerner/

TURKEY truth #7: move over, American bald eagle. Ben Franklin dubbed the wild turkey a “bird of courage” and also thought it would make a much better national symbol.

Sunlight brings out remarkable colors in the feather of this wild turkey close to Minnesota Valley nationwide Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: Courtney Celley/

TURKEY truth #8: In the beforehand 1900s, wild turkeys were on the brink that extinction, through only around 200,000 left. V conservation initiatives over the previous century, with funds acquired from the Pittman-Robertson Act, and also thanks come sportsmen and also women, over there are about 6.5 million wild birds in the United states today, according to the nationwide Wild Turkey Federation.

A first-year jake through a glowing red wattle and also a mustache patrols at man Heinz national Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Pennsylvania. (Photo: invoice Buchanan/

Turkey-rich refuges:

FLORIDA St Marks nationwide Wildlife Refuge To boost your chances of see turkeys, lower your auto speed come a keen “Turkeys room sensitive to the activity of vehicles,” claims ranger David Moody or acquire out and walk, slowly. Turkeys choose the open up terrain that the longleaf pine sandhill ecosystem along the Florida national Scenic Trail, almost 50 miles of i beg your pardon go v the refuge. $5 entrance fee.

GEORGIA Piedmont national Wildlife Refuge Look for turkeys follow me 50 mile of gravel roads,including6-mile-long Wildlife Drive.You might also see turkeys turn off Round Oak Juliette Road, a scenic led byway. Or shot one that the refuge’s five hiking trails. No enntrance gate fee.

ILLINOIS Crab Orchard national Wildlife Refuge The 1.7- mile Wild Turkey trail leads with woods and also offers a fine possibility of see … you-know-whats. For more of a challenge, take it the connecting 2.2-mile Rocky Bluff Trail. Enntrance gate fee: $2 every vehicle.

MASSACHUSETTS Parker River nationwide Wildlife Refuge Several quick foot trails provide you a chance to glimpse wild turkeys. You might additionally spy part along Wildlife Drive. Entrance fee: $5 per vehicle.

Two gobblers vie for supremacy at man Heinz Refuge in ~ Tinicum. The younger tom ~ above the left (uneven tail feathers signify youth) appears to win. (Photo: bill Buchanan/

More turkey-rich refuges:

MINNESOTA Minnesota Valley national Wildlife Refuge indigenous the visitor center, the half-mile Hillside trace connects to the lengthy Meadow Lake Trail. Follow it about the floodplain wetland, keeping your eyes out for wild turkeys. No entrance fee.

Sherburne nationwide Wildlife Refuge The refuge has a “healthy population” of the skittish wild birds, says deputy manager Greg Dehmer. Look because that them follow me 7.5-mile Wildlife Drive, two refuge long walking trails, and also in prairie areas beside county roads that run with the refuge. No enntrance gate fee.

NEW MEXICO Bosque del Apache national Wildlife Refuge thousands of Rio Grande turkeys hang the end here. The North and also South Auto tour Loops are an excellent places to spot some. Other good spots: along the Rio Viejo Trail, the man Taylor Memorial trail or the bike trace on the east side organization road the the Low flow Conveyance Channel. Entrance fee: $5 per vehicle NEW YORK Iroquois nationwide Wildlife Refuge Feeder roadway takes you on a scenic 3.5-mile drive right into the refuge, passing fields and also grasslands that space favorite turkey hangouts. The road is open to cars now through February, and to hikers and cyclists year-round. Three other hiking trails are likewise available. No enntrance gate fee.

Wild turkeys take it a break from gobbling and also strutting to take a sip at Lake Andes national Wildlife Refuge in south Dakota. (Photo: Kelly Preheim)

Still an ext turkey-rich refuges:

SOUTH CAROLINA Carolina Sandhills national Wildlife Refuge Nine-mile Wildlife drive passes woods and also fields where you might spot turkeys, especially in mornings and also late afternoons. Or walk any type of of five hiking trails follow me the drive. An monitoring tower in the Oxpen Unit offers exceptional birding and also scenic views.No enntrance gate fee.

TEXAS Hagerman nationwide Wildlife Refuge Look because that wild turkeys crossing Refuge roadway as you journey in the main entrance. Raasch trace is likewise a great bet because that seeing wild turkeys. No entrance fee.

Refuge trails are open sunrise come sunset daily, even on Thanksgiving Day once refuge visitor centers will be closed. Totally free trail maps are available outside the visitor facility or at a refuge enntrance gate kiosk. Here’s much more information on nationwide Wildlife Refuge system trails.

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Merriam’s wild turkeys strut and also feed in Wyoming. (Photo: Courtesy that the nationwide Wild Turkey Federation)