Wild turkeys, which are native to North America, have been around for almost 10 million years and diverged from pheasants. The usual lifespan of a turkey is 10 years. A mature turkey has about 3,500 feathers. The heaviest male wild turkey recorded weighed 38 lbs.
They were domesticated by the Aztecs long before they were introduced into Europe by the Spaniards. The King of Spain was so impressed by the new bird that he ordered every ship returning from the New World to bring along 10 turkeys in addition to the gold and silver that they looted. The popularity of the turkey soon spread throughout Europe replacing the peacock at banquets.
Contrary to popular belief turkeys can fly, at least wild turkeys, their domestic counterparts are now not able to do so due to selective breeding. Wild turkeys are capable of flying at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour for short distances and can travel on the ground at speeds of 25 miles per hour.
In the wild, turkeys sleep in trees, furthermore they prefer oak.
Wild Turkeys forage for food such as acorns, seeds, roots, insects and wild berries. Domesticated turkeys weigh twice as much as a wild turkey, this is because they are fattened in factory farms and fed growth hormones and have no room due to close confinement in which to exercise.
Dispelling the myth: Although there is no documented evidence of this, we've all heard the story of a turkey looking upward in a rainstorm and drowning. The behavior is a genetically-caused nervous disorder called tetanic torticollar spasms, which causes the bird to hold it's head at unusual angles.
Turkey talk: They don't just gobble. But when they do, they can be heard as far as a mile away. However, turkeys have been known to have over 20 distinct vocalizations including “yelps,” “purrs,” and “kee-kees.” Turkeys can recognize each other by their unique voices.
Turkeys are highly social, affectionate and love to play. They create long-lasting social bonds with each other and with humans. Turkeys love to be stroked, petted and cuddled. They will remember your face and if they like you, they will come up to you to greet you. Turkeys also love music and will cluck along with the songs.
If Turkeys were stupid, they wouldn't be so hard to hunt.