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

Mario Palcich sits atop his 161 pound pumpkin and enjoys a glass of wine. (Special to THE NEWS)
88-year-old Pitt Meadows farmer grows 161-pound pumpkin

Granddaughter goaded Mario Palcich into growing giant gourds

One of the options city council is looking at to reduce greenhouse gases is strengthening development requirements for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. (The News files)
New net zero greenhouse gas emission target for Maple Ridge

City voted to change the target on Oct. 20

There is a case of COVID-19 at Baillie House, located on the grounds of Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Google)
COVID-19 case at Baillie House in Maple Ridge

Seniors facility at Ridge Meadows Hospital one of five with new cases in region

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

The Ridge Meadows Flames were able to put their jerseys on and face opposition for the first time since COVID hit. (Facebook)
Flames wrangle with whalers in first exhibition game of 20/21 season

Maple Ridge Junior B squad fell to the White Rock team 5-3 on Sunday

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read