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Two gobblers confront off at man Heinz national Wildlife Refuge in ~ Tinicum in Pennsylvania. (Photo: invoice Buchanan/

Wild Facts about Wild Turkeys

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

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

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

Read top top 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 creative Commons)

TURKEY reality #1: enough with gobble, gobble. Turkeys also cluck and purr.

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

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

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

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


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

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

TURKEY fact #5: Young turkeys — called poults — scarf down insects favor candy. Poults develop much more of a taste for plants after ~ they’re four weeks old.

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

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

One jake struts (young male) while one more walks in ~ Sand Lake Wetland administration District in south Dakota. (Photo: Tom Koerner/

TURKEY reality #7: move over, American fully eagle. Ben Franklin dubbed the wild turkey a “bird the courage” and thought it would make a far better national symbol.

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

TURKEY fact #8: In the early 1900s, wild turkeys to be on the brink of extinction, through only about 200,000 left. With conservation initiatives over the previous century, v funds obtained from the Pittman-Robertson Act, and also thanks to sportsmen and women, over there are approximately 6.5 million wild birds in the United claims today, follow to the nationwide Wild Turkey Federation.

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

Turkey-rich refuges:

FLORIDA St Marks national Wildlife Refuge To boost your possibilities of see turkeys, lower your car speed come a crawl “Turkeys are sensitive to the movement of vehicles,” claims ranger David Moody or acquire out and walk, slowly. Turkeys favor the open terrain that the longleaf pine tree sandhill ecosystem along the Florida national Scenic Trail, nearly 50 mile of i m sorry go through the refuge. $5 entrance fee.

GEORGIA Piedmont nationwide Wildlife Refuge Look for turkeys along 50 mile of gravel roads,including6-mile-long Wildlife Drive.You might likewise see turkeys off Round Oak Juliette Road, a scenic led byway. Or shot one of the refuge’s 5 hiking trails. No entrance fee.

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

MASSACHUSETTS Parker River national Wildlife Refuge Several brief foot trails offer you a chance to glimpse wild turkeys. You might also spy part along Wildlife Drive. Entrance fee: $5 every vehicle.

Two gobblers vie for supremacy at john Heinz Refuge at Tinicum. The younger tom on the left (uneven tail feathers represent youth) shows up to win. (Photo: bill Buchanan/

More turkey-rich refuges:

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

Sherburne national Wildlife Refuge The refuge has actually a “healthy population” of the skittish wild birds, states deputy manager Greg Dehmer. Look because that them follow me 7.5-mile Wildlife Drive, two refuge long trails, and also in prairie fields beside county roads that run v the refuge. No entrance fee.

NEW MEXICO Bosque del Apache national Wildlife Refuge hundreds of Rio Grande turkeys hang the end here. The North and also South Auto tour Loops are great places to spot some. Other great spots: along the Rio Viejo Trail, the john Taylor Memorial follow or the bike trail on the eastern side business road that the Low flow Conveyance Channel. Entrance fee: $5 per auto NEW YORK Iroquois national Wildlife Refuge Feeder road takes you on a scenic 3.5-mile drive right into the refuge, passing fields and grasslands that room favorite turkey hangouts. The road is open up to cars now through February, and also to hikers and also cyclists year-round. Three various other hiking trails are additionally available. No enntrance gate fee.

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

Still an ext turkey-rich refuges:

SOUTH CAROLINA Carolina Sandhills nationwide Wildlife Refuge Nine-mile Wildlife drive passes woods and fields wherein you could spot turkeys, especially in mornings and also late afternoons. Or walk any kind of of 5 hiking trails follow me the drive. An observation 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 cross Refuge road as you journey in the main entrance. Raasch follow is also a an excellent bet because that seeing wild turkeys. No entrance fee.

Refuge trails are open sunrise come sunset daily, also on Thanksgiving Day once refuge visitor centers will be closed. Cost-free trail maps are easily accessible outside the visitor center or in ~ a refuge entrance kiosk. Here’s much more information on nationwide Wildlife Refuge system trails.

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