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Two gobblers challenge off at john Heinz nationwide Wildlife Refuge in ~ Tinicum in Pennsylvania. (Photo: invoice Buchanan/

Wild Facts about Wild Turkeys

Those odd birds at your Thanksgiving table are even wilder than you thought. Amuse her guests with some offbeat turkey facts.

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

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

Read top top to discover some oddball turkey trivia and wild turkey hideouts.

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

TURKEY reality #1: sufficient with gobble, gobble. Turkeys additionally 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 reaching from the mine to the neck. Caruncles space bumps of flesh that cover the birds’ necks and also heads. (Photo: Matt Poole/

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

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

TURKEY fact #3: feathers galore: one adult turkey has actually 5,000 come 6,000 feather count them!


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

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

TURKEY reality #5: Young turkeys — called poults — scarf under insects like candy. Poults develop an ext of a taste because that plants after ~ they’re 4 weeks old.

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

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

One jake struts (young male) while another walks at Sand Lake Wetland management District in south Dakota. (Photo: Tom Koerner/

TURKEY fact #7: move over, American bald eagle. Ben Franklin referred to as the wild turkey a “bird that courage” and thought it would make a much better national symbol.

Sunlight bring out amazing colors in the feathers of this wild turkey close to Minnesota Valley national Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: Courtney Celley/

TURKEY fact #8: In the early 1900s, wild turkeys to be on the brink the extinction, with only around 200,000 left. With conservation efforts over the past century, with funds acquired from the Pittman-Robertson Act, and also thanks to sportsmen and women, over there are approximately 6.5 million wild bird in the United says today, follow to the national Wild Turkey Federation.

A first-year jake v a shining red wattle and a beard patrols at john Heinz national Wildlife Refuge in ~ Tinicum in Pennsylvania. (Photo: invoice Buchanan/

Turkey-rich refuges:

FLORIDA St Marks national Wildlife Refuge To rise your chances of seeing turkeys, reduced your car speed come a keen “Turkeys space sensitive to the motion of vehicles,” claims ranger David Moody or gain out and walk, slowly. Turkeys prefer the open terrain of the longleaf pine tree sandhill ecosystem follow me the Florida nationwide Scenic Trail, practically 50 miles of which go with the refuge. $5 enntrance gate fee.

GEORGIA Piedmont nationwide Wildlife Refuge Look because that turkeys along 50 miles of gravel roads,including6-mile-long Wildlife Drive.You might likewise see turkeys off Round Oak Juliette Road, a scenic paved byway. Or shot one that the refuge’s 5 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 opportunity of see … you-know-whats. For more of a challenge, take the connecting 2.2-mile Rocky Bluff Trail. Entrance fee: $2 per vehicle.

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

Two gobblers vie for prominence at john Heinz Refuge in ~ Tinicum. The younger tom ~ above the left (uneven tail feathers represent youth) shows up to win. (Photo: invoice Buchanan/

More turkey-rich refuges:

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

Sherburne national Wildlife Refuge The refuge has a “healthy population” that the skittish wild birds, claims deputy manager Greg Dehmer. Look because that them along 7.5-mile Wildlife Drive, 2 refuge hiking trails, and in prairie areas beside county roadways that run v 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 tourism Loops are good places to spot some. Other good spots: follow me the Rio Viejo Trail, the john Taylor Memorial trace or the bike follow on the eastern side business road of the Low circulation Conveyance Channel. Entrance fee: $5 per vehicle NEW YORK Iroquois nationwide Wildlife Refuge Feeder roadway takes girlfriend on a scenic 3.5-mile drive right into the refuge, happen fields and also grasslands that are favorite turkey hangouts. The road is open to cars now through February, and also to hikers and cyclists year-round. Three other hiking trails are additionally available. No entrance fee.

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

Still an ext turkey-rich refuges:

SOUTH CAROLINA Carolina Sandhills national Wildlife Refuge Nine-mile Wildlife journey passes woods and fields where you can spot turkeys, specifically in mornings and also late afternoons. Or walk any of 5 hiking trails along the drive. An monitoring tower in the Oxpen Unit uses exceptional birding and also scenic views.No enntrance gate fee.

TEXAS Hagerman nationwide Wildlife Refuge Look for wild turkeys cross Refuge roadway as you drive in the main entrance. Raasch trace is additionally a an excellent bet for seeing wild turkeys. No entrance fee.

Refuge trails are open sunrise to sunset daily, even on Thanksgiving Day when refuge visitor centers will certainly be closed. Totally free trail maps are obtainable outside the visitor center or in ~ a refuge entrance kiosk. Here’s 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 national Wild Turkey Federation)