2. Wild turkeys are native to North America. Once I saw group of turkeys, maybe 3 or 4 just standing around in the middle of the street in my neighborhood. No joke, they hang out in Delaware County. Not so much during the Thanksgiving season, though.
3. Males, called toms or gobblers, have a large, featherless, reddish head, red throat, and red wattles on the throat and neck. We all know what a wattle is right? For those lucky enough not to, click on the link for further reference.
4. Females, called hens, have feathers that are duller overall, in shades of brown and gray. I have a feeling the tom turkey has something to do with making the ladies shady.
5. Males turkeys are polygamous, mating with as many hens as they can. Women might also refer to these men turkeys as pigs. Just sayin. I'm not sure how the female turkey feels about this. Has there been a study?
6. Males may be seen courting in groups, often with the dominant male gobbling, spreading their tail feathers (strutting), drumming/booming and spitting. Ever been in the presence of one of these guys? Some hens go for that.
7. Turkey Hunting Season ends in Pennsylvania on November 26th. Run Turkey Run!
8. The Wild Turkey, throughout its range, plays a significant role in the cultures of many Native American tribes all over North America. Outside of the Thanksgiving feast, it is a favorite meal in Eastern tribes. Eastern Native American tribes consumed both the eggs and meat, sometimes turning the latter into a type of jerky to preserve it and make it last through cold weather. The Native Americans have provided habitats by burning down portions of forests to create artificial meadows which would attract mating birds, and thus give a clear shot to hunters. The feathers of turkeys also often made their way into the rituals and headgear of many tribes. Many leaders, such as Catawba chiefs, traditionally wore turkey feather headdresses. Significant peoples of several tribes, including Muscogee Creek and Wampanoag, wore turkey feather cloaks. The Turkey Clan is one of the three Lenape clans. Movements of wild turkeys inspired the Caddo tribe's turkey dance.
9. Predators of eggs and nestlings include Raccoons, Virginia Opossums, Striped Skunks, Gray foxes, raptors, Groundhogs, other rodents, spotted skunks, rat snakes, Gopher Snakes, pinesnakes, Predators of both adults and young include Coyotes, Bobcats, Cougars, Golden Eagles and (with the exception of males) Great Horned Owls, Dogs, and red foxes. Humans are now the leading predator of adult turkeys. True story.
10. If you are still in a quandary about what to do with that bird Butterball.com is an excellent source and Food Network can help with the sides.
I hope everyone gets a chance to spend a few precious hours with family and or friends. Don't overindulge. We are only given one official day to give thanks. Be generous with those portions.
I have been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for about twenty years now. It is a lot of work but I have a good turkey to help me. It is my favorite holiday.
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