16 Fun and Interesting Facts About the Turkey

Turkeys are a long held tradition and symbol for Thanksgiving, and as soon as anyone thinks of Thanksgiving the turkey is the usually the first thing that comes to mind., but many people don’t know much about the turkey at all. The turkey is an interesting bird that has a long history; this article will discuss 16 fun and interesting facts about the turkey.

1. Turkeys have been alive for a very long time; in fact they have been alive in North America for “almost ten million years” (Pearson, 2003).

2. Turkeys have a wide range of vision; in fact they can see up to “270 degrees” (Gianetti, 2003).

3. Wild turkeys sleep in trees at night.

4. When a turkey gets mad, excited, or defensive its head and neck changes color, and the more excited a turkey becomes the whiter the head and neck will also become.

5. Turkeys may have got their names in several ways, and historians are not exactly sure how the name turkey came about, but there are several interesting theories that hold weight. Christopher Columbus might have thought they were part of the peacock family, and he “decided to call them “tuka” which is the word for peacock in the language of India” (Pearson, 2003). The turkey also makes a “turk, turk, turk” sound when it is scared, and the “American Indian name for the bird was firkee” (Gianetta, 2003). Another possible way the turkey got its name is because the Turkish were great merchants of turkeys, and the bird was referred to as the “turkey bird” (Pearson, 2003).

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6. In the “early 1900’s” the wild turkey almost became extinct because of its value as a food source (Pearson, 2003). The growth of people and industry also caused the turkeys to lose much of its habitat, and farming caused many trees to be cut down during this time.

7. Adult turkeys can have “3,500” feathers, and their feathers are a great addition to compost heaps (Gianetta, 2003).

8. Wild turkeys don’t seem quick, but they are pretty fast. A wild turkey can fly as fast as “55 miles per hour,” and they can run as fast as “29 miles per hour” (Gianetta, 2003).

9. When I see wild turkeys they are usually just wandering around by the side of the road, but they do fly. In fact a wild turkey can glide without flapping his wings “for almost a mile” (Gianetta, 2003).

10. A turkey may seem small when he is cooked in the oven, but a turkey actually has “157 bones” (Pearson, 2003).

11. During Thanksgiving “more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S.” (Pearson, 2007).

12. Although turkeys have no “external ears” they can hear very well (Pearson, 2007).

13. Domesticated turkeys can not fly.

14. Turkeys can “have heart attacks” just like humans, and this was proven when turkeys died from the shock of jet planes flying overhead (A., 2009).

15. The common dance called the “Turkey Trot” was named after the quick, small steps that a turkey takes when walking.

16. If a turkey looks up when it is raining it can “drown” (A., 2009).

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Turkeys are very interesting creatures, and these fun facts will keep you intrigued and amused this Thanksgiving holiday.


A., A. (2009). Aristotle’s thanksgiving turkey facts. Retrieved from http://home.aristotle.net/Thanksgiving/turkey_facts.asp

Gianetta, J. (2003, October). Turkey facts. Retrieved from http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/thanks/tkyinfo.html

Pearson, Initials. (2007). Turkey trivia. Retrieved from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgturkeyfacts.html