Feast your eyes on wild turkey facts

out turkeyThe domestic, farm-raised turkey most Americans eat on Thanksgiving Day is nothing like the wild turkey feasted on by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. And with that big turkey meal approaching, here are a few facts about the tasty game bird chosen as the main course for the original feast:

• Wild turkeys, now numbering nearly 7 million, were almost extinct in the early 1900s.

• Wild turkeys can run up to 25 miles per hour. Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human, averaged 23.35 mph during his world-record 100 meters.

• Wild turkeys were argued by Benjamin Franklin to be a more appropriate choice than bald eagles as our national bird.

• Wild turkeys rarely weigh more than 24 pounds while domestic turkeys regularly grow to more than 40 pounds.

• Wild turkeys, which have as many as 6,000 feathers, can fly as fast as 55 miles per hour. Most domestic turkeys are too heavy to fly.

• Wild turkeys have much sharper vision than humans and can view 360 degrees simply by turning their heads.

• Wild turkeys can make at least 28 different vocalizations, with gobbles heard up to one mile away.

• Wild turkeys roost, or sleep, in trees, often as high as 50 feet off the ground.

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