It’s almost Thanksgiving, and with that comes thoughts of big family dinners with a golden turkey as the centerpiece. How far back does the tradition of eating turkey for Thanksgiving go? Some say it all started with the Pilgrims, with the First Thanksgiving in 1621, but there is no direct mention of eating turkeys at that time. Still, the large native bird has become a symbol of holiday meals. For some families, Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without turkey on the table.
As author G.T. Klein said, the American turkey was “wild and wary to the point of genius.” Wild turkeys are brightly plumed and have longer necks and legs than farmed birds. They also have smaller chests. Farmed turkeys are bred to have larger breasts (for the white meat).
What sound does a turkey make? If you said “gobble, gobble,” you’d just be partly right. Only the tom turkeys gobble, the females make a clucking or clicking sound.
Wild turkeys sleep in trees at night but build their nests on land using dry leaves.
The largest of the birds is the Bronze turkey. Adult males (toms) can weigh up to 50 pounds while females (hens) only weigh up to about 16 pounds.