Monday, November 5, 2012

Turkey Time

"Gobble, gobble, gobble...." Almost a century ago, the wild turkey just about became extinct. Their habitats were destroyed when forest areas were being cleared. But don’t cry just yet…the wild turkey has fought his way back. You will now find them in 49 states--all but Alaska.

Benjamin Franklin was a big fan of the wild turkey. In fact, he was very sad when the bald eagle was chosen as a symbol of the United States of America. He was rooting for the wild turkey. Franklin called the wild turkey a "...more respectable Bird..." and "...a true original native of North America."

Interesting Facts About Turkeys:

  • Turkeys are large birds, related to pheasants. Wild turkeys are native to wooded areas of North America. (Turkeys were not mentioned by name in original accounts of the 1621 Plymouth Thanksgiving celebration. Wild turkeys would have lived in the surrounding area and may have been included in the fowl eaten at the meal however.)
  • Male turkeys are called toms. Female turkeys are called hens.
  • Only male turkeys make gobbling sounds.
  • Wild turkeys eat seeds, acorns, and insects.
  • Wild turkeys can run and are good fliers. Domesticated turkeys cannot fly.
  • Wild turkeys are not as fat as domesticated turkeys.
  • Domesticated turkeys are related to Mexican turkeys.
  • Spanish Conquistadors took Mexican turkeys to Europe in the 16th century. Turkeys were raised in Europe before the Pilgrims left there.
  • In this country, the average person in the United States eats almost 19 pounds of turkey each year.

Help your child learn what Benjamin Franklin had to say about the national seal of the United States of America. Ask your child to explain why Franklin thought the turkey was more appropriate than the bald eagle. Challenge your child to design a new seal -- using a turkey instead of the eagle.

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