Arts Everyday Living: Happy Thanksgiving-Honoring the Wild Turkey, Fast Flier & 5000 feathers

John James Audubon, Wild Turkey Cock, Hen, and Young, 1826, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we are featuring the wild turkey as depicted by artist and ornithologist  John James Audubon (1785-1851) who recorded all bird species.

But how much do we know about this notable American bird?  For instance:

The average male is 11 to 24 pounds, and 39 to 49 inches in length. And has 5000-6000 feathers!

Adult males are called toms or gobblers, while juvenile males are jakes.

Despite their weight, wild turkeys are fast fliers; they spend the night in trees for protection against predators.

They have very good eyesight during the day, but poor night vision.

Turkeys actually may forage with deer and squirrel, even playing with them.

In the late 1930s, the number of turkeys in the United States was approximately 30,000; due to conservation efforts, the birds have increased to some 6.5 million.*

*Based on various resources including the National Turkey Federation.




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