Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I know it isn’t Thanksgiving time, but recently we were in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we saw a ton of turkeys. We saw a lot of tom turkeys looking for a mate and seeing their tails in beautiful fans was an awesome sight. So, I thought it would be fun to learn some facts about turkeys and do some activities in the springtime.

1.     Wild Turkey – also known as Meleagris gallopavo

2.     Ben Franklin wanted Wild Turkey to be our national bird, but the bald eagle won out.

3.     It is one of our largest and heaviest birds, but it is smaller than a trumpet swan.

4.     Outside of hunting and predators, the average lifespan of a turkey is 3-4 years.

5.     Turkeys like to travel in flocks and like to eat nuts, berries, insects, and snails. They scratch leaf litter out of the way with their feet. At night, they fly into trees to roost for safety.

6.     Turkeys live in the forest with oak, hickory or beech trees that have open spaces close by. They are also along roads and woody backyards.

7.     Turkeys can see colors a little. Their eyes are on the side of their head which means they can see out of each eye separately and their depth perception is limited.  Hearing allows them to hear when they are in danger or communicate with others.

8.     In the spring, the male turkeys begin courtship by puffing up their feathers. They flare out their tails into a fan shape and walk around giving their gobble call.

9.     Turkeys like to lay eggs into hayfields, woodlot edges, pastures, and old fields so that it is open, and the mother can see any predators. She will lay one egg or more each day until she has about a dozen. The incubation period is 28 days. Once they hatch, she will move them to a new location to avoid predators.

10.  Chicks can be eaten by ants and crows while adults can be eaten by bears, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, owls, and hawks.

Activities (varies depending on age):

What other activities would you suggest? Please share.

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