Turkey Talk

By: Annalie Mallon

Happy Friday Nature Nuts!

The end of our fall teaching season is quickly approaching us here at the Delaware Nature Society and we have been busy busy busy! What have you all been enjoying most about this beautiful fall season? I personally love the warm fall colors. Check out this photo Erynn took at Flint Woods Preserve last week. The leaves were poppin!


Flint Woods Preserve photo by Erynn

I think a lot of us can agree that one of the most exciting things about autumn is THANKSGIVING! What is not to love about gathering with family around a table full of delicious food??

We all know how the Thanksgiving tradition started with the Native Americans and Pilgrims, but does anyone know why this whole day is mostly dedicated to a big colorful bird? Seriously, what is so special about turkeys? My pal Tom the turkey and I did some research to find out exactly why we eat turkey on thanksgiving and found some pretty interesting things! (Tom sits next to me at work and likes to distract me on a daily basis).

So while you are stuffing your face full of stuffing this Thanksgiving, here are some fun facts about that big bird on the table.


Annalie and Tom the Turkey having a chat

To begin our turkey quest, Tom and I discovered something about the first Thanksgiving that we think is pretty interesting; although the Pilgrims and Native Americans sat down and shared a meal together, they may not have actually eaten turkey! Historians believe that they most likely ate deer meat, chickens, and beef. Eating turkey on Thanksgiving did not become a popular thing until Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Since turkeys are birds big enough for an entire family to share, VOILA Happy Turkey Day!


This picture is apparently FALSE

Did you know that the wild turkey was once so common and so well thought of in America that it was considered a choice for our national bird over the Bald Eagle? Benjamin Franklin thought it was a “much more respectable bird” than the Bald Eagle! Tom 10/10 agrees with Ben and is still a little bitter that he is not our countries symbol.


Tom showing his Patriotic side

Wild turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour and fly up to 55 mph! WOAH that’s as fast as your car sometimes drives on the highway! Tom on the other hand does not like to run or fly much, rather he spends most of his time answering emails and doing desk work.


Tom checking his favorite news site: Turkey Times

Male turkeys are called “gobblers” because of the gobble calls they make to attract females. This call can be heard up to a mile away! (Speaking of gobble, if the gobble noise on this post has gotten annoying yet, just scroll down and turn it off. hehe).

A group of turkeys has many interesting names including a “flock,” “crop,” or “gang.” My favorite is definitely a turkey gang. Don’t mess with Toms turkey gang, they have serious golf tournaments.

DAVID ZALAZNIK/JOURNAL STAR A group of male turkeys in full springtime display tries to get the attention of a seemingly disinterested female along Grandview Drive in Peoria. The male turkeys walk with feathers puffed out and splayed wide with their facial coloring becoming pronounced in an effort to attract females.

Turkey Gang by David Zalaznik

Last but not least, my favorite fact about turkeys: You can tell the difference between a male and a female turkey from their poop! You heard me, their poop! A male’s will be shaped like the letter “J” and a female’s will be more of a spiral shape. TOTALLY WEIRD RIGHT?! Tom is very embarrassed and upset that I shared this fact with you all and is now hiding somewhere in the nature center.

Well friends, that’s all the turkey facts I have for today!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving dinner with the people they love! Remember to #take5outside, trot like a turkey, and enjoy the remaining fall colors.

P.s. I found Tom..


Tom hiding under Erynns desk


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