Spring is about to begin and for hunters, the season has been synonymous to wild turkey, an upload ground bird characterized by black-colored feathers, and long reddish-yellow to grayish-green legs. They have been a favorite. Hunters always like to take advantage of these times because this is the breeding season for the species. Without further ado, here are the top 10 facts that you should know about wild turkey.
- Wild turkeys are great runners
Much of these qualities are attributed to their very strong legs that can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Plus, they can even be faster in flight and can reach up to 55 miles per hour. You might want to consider this when hunting for these turkeys this season to maximize all attempts.
- They have around 5,500 feathers
Wild turkeys live with 5,500 up to 6,000 features all over their body known as feather tracts. Aside from being a thing for physical beauty, these features provide practical functions for survival. The feathers function to keep them warm during the cold parts of the season, enabling them to fly, and use it to attract the opposite sex. It is important to note though that the head and upper portion of their necks are without feathers. These are shown in different colors of red, copper, gold, bronze, and more.
- They have five different subspecies
Wild turkeys fairly have a huge family and thus, the need to categorize based on subspecies. They have around five and these are: Eastern, Gould’s, Merriam’s, Osceola, and Rio Grande. The main distinguishing qualities between these species are in the plumage and other features.
- They love to eat berries and nuts
These species have a healthy diet. Collectively, the birds are omnivorous and are flexible when it comes to their diet. However, they are particularly interested in grass, grain, nuts, berries, insects and even small reptiles. They also like to eat leafy green vegetables. Perhaps this diet is what gives them the speed for running? Probably.
- It has once been considered a national bird
Though the bald eagle is the more popular species that pertains to the country’s national bird, Benjamin Franklin once preferred the wild turkey as the national bird. One reason for this is, it exhibits a well-respected but not intimidating demeanor and protective capabilities. Compared with the bald eagle, it usually does not rob other birds and animals of food.
- They have a systematic communication strategy
The gobble of a wild turkey can span and be heard up to a mile away. This sound has also been their medium for communication with their harem. In some instances, they produce the sound to warn others and inform them that the territories they are in are already claimed.
- Their facial wattles change in color depending on their emotion
Have you ever noticed a change in the color of a wild turkey’s fleshy facial wattles during the hunt? This is because these features change in color within a few seconds out of excitement and other emotions. The colors range from red, pink, white to blue. The skin flap draping down the bill known as the snood also changes in color based on their mood.
- They can see in daylight three times better than humans do
They have an outstanding daytime vision and has been measured to be three times better than humans. This covers around 270 degrees. Nevertheless, the vision wanes during the night and becomes even more fatigued as the dark begins to cover the environment.
- Female turkeys hatch eggs almost daily
With an active system for reproduction, hens can lay a group of 10 to 12 eggs in just a span of 14 days, which means they usually lay an egg each day. These eggs take 28 days to incubate and are occasionally tossed until they hatch. The newly hatched flock leaves the nest only within a day as well to start feeding.
- Turkey is the most hunted bird species in North America
Turkeys are considered the most hunted of the entire bird species in North America. Due to this fact, the wild turkey has been regarded as the official game bird of Alabama, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.