Here are some quick facts about turkeys you can use to impress your friends and family as you gather around the Thanksgiving table later next week:
🦃 Only male turkeys gobble.
They’ll make a variety of different sounds from yelps to purrs but only male turkeys make a “gobble” noise. In fact, male turkeys are referred to as “gobblers” and females are called “hens”.
🦃 Wild turkeys sleep in trees.
Wild turkeys can fly (domesticated ones can’t because they’re bred to be heavier) but spend most of their time on the ground. But at dusk they’ll make their way into trees for the night to protect them from predators.
🦃 Benjamin Franklin preferred turkeys over bald eagles.
While the story of him wanting the national bird to be a turkey is a myth, Benjamin Franklin did compare the virtues of turkeys versus bald eagles and said the bald eagle “is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly…[he] is too lazy to fish for himself.” Regarding the turkey, he said it’s “a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America” and a “Bird of Courage”.
🦃 Turkeys can see better than humans.
Their eyesight is three-times better than that of humans. They can see in color and their field of vision covers 270 degrees.
🦃 The first presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardon was in 1963. Kind of.
JFK was presented with a turkey to which he replied “we’ll just let this one grow” and later President Nixon sent a turkey that he was gifted to a petting zoo. President Reagan was technically the first to use the term “pardon” but the ceremony wasn’t formalized until 1989 with President George H.W. Bush.
🦃 The presidential turkeys pardoned this year are from Jasper, Indiana.
Their names are Peanut Butter and Jelly and they’ll live out the remainder of their lives at Purdue University’s Animal Sciences Research and Education Farm.