KIDS: Ranger Kirsten Soar Like a Turkey?

{Spotlight Page Header} In the Spotlight
{Picture of a Strutting Male Wild Turkey}
Soar Like a Turkey?
Fish swim, snakes slither, bunnies hop and to answer a question many of you ask…yes, turkeys can fly!
{Picture of a Wild Turkey in Flight in Woods}
Photo Used by Permission of Jim Ridley
When you see wild turkeys during the day, they may be nibbling on insects, seeds, fern fronds, fruits, acorns and even squiggling salamanders.  Wild turkeys are not as bright and colorful as other birds like Blue Jays.  They are covered with darker feathers.  This helps them hide from predators in their woodland homes.  When it’s time for bed the turkey flies to low branches in nearby trees where it’s safe.  When poults are born they cannot fly for 2 weeks and the hen hides on the ground with them.
{Picture of a Hen Wild Turkey with Four Poults}
Turkey meat was an important food to the Native Americans and early settlers in the United States.  The kind of turkey you may eat today is probably raised on a turkey farm and its feathers are mostly white.  These turkeys sometimes weigh double what a wild turkey does.  They get so heavy they can’t fly!
{Picture of a Domestic White Turkey}
"Tom Turkeys" or "Gobblers" puff up their bodies and spread their tail feathers and sometimes their heads and throats look like they are colored red, white and blue. They make a "gobble-gobble” sound and strut around shaking their feathers. They do all this to say to the female turkeys, “Don’t I look fancy? Do you want to be my
{Cartoon Drawing of a Patriotic Turkey}
Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the Wild Turkey the national bird instead of the Bald Eagle. Many flagpoles have a figure of a Bald Eagle in flight at their tips. Can you imagine a figure of a Wild Turkey on top of the flagpole at the White House in Washington, DC?  Maybe it is better that the turkey ends up on our Thanksgiving Day table.  Would you really want to eat the national bird?
{Cartoon Drawing of a Turkey Holding a Sign Saying Eat Beef}
Caruncle - brightly colored skin-like flap on the throat.
Clutch – A group of up to 18 tan and speckled brown eggs laid by the hen.  It takes about 28 days for the chicks to hatch.
Gizzard - a part of a bird's stomach that contains tiny stones to help grind up the food they eat.
Hen - a female turkey.
Poult - a baby turkey.
Snood - a flap of skin that hangs over the turkey's beak.
Tom - a male turkey.  Also known as a gobbler.
Wattle - the flap of skin under the turkey's chin.
{Picture of Ranger Kirsten}
You may ask Ranger Kirsten a nature question through her email
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Content Last Modified on 12/8/2010 1:28:56 PM