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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kinnelon Critter File: Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys in Paterson, NJ originally uploaded by Brooklyn Bridge Baby.
It certainly seems appropriate for Thanksgiving to share with you another installment of the Kinnelon Critter File. This time, it's the story of Wild Turkeys.

I bet you've noticed groups of 5 to 8 turkeys - sometimes more - foraging about through the forested areas, perhaps even trekking through your property.  Earlier in the spring, I remember seeing an all-white turkey.  I haven't seen her lately, but I'm sure she's about somewhere.

Per Wikipedia, Wild Turkeys are native to North America.It seems that in Kinney's time [i.e., early 1900s] the turkey population was as low as 30,000.  Today, it is closer to 7 million birds.

Wild turkeys are omnivores, occasionally eating frogs and snakes. [I thought they only consumed nuts, grubs, seeds and berries...]  Another interesting fact:  did you know that turkeys' "heads and necks are colored brilliantly with red, blue and white. The color can change with the turkey's mood, with a solid white head and neck being the most excited."  I think this refers primarily to male turkeys.

Another source of Turkey tidbits is Cornell University's All About Birds: Wild Turkey summary which includes a recording of turkey calls. 

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin wished the Turkey were the national bird over the eagle? He considered turkeys more noble...

With that, I hope you consume your domestic turkey with renewed respect and appreciation for the Wild Turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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