There’s much more to America’s holiday bird than white and dark meat. (Nat Geo News)
Use our great study guide to learn more about the wild turkey!
“[T]hat big, tasty bird has left a significant mark on history, science, language, and culture,” according to the fun Nat Geo news article. Does “talking turkey” inspire inquiry?
- “The Social Order of Turkeys,” published in the June 1971 issue of Scientific American, described an avian dystopia where the permanent status of each individual is determined in the first years of its life.
- “For the Maya, turkeys were quintessential animals for feasting and for sacrificial offerings,” writes University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee art historian Andrea Stone.
- Wild turkeys can fly short distances at 40 to 50 miles an hour.
- Benjamin Franklin, knowing that his lengthy letter would probably be published in U.S. newspapers, singled out the eagle as part of a larger cautionary tale against creating aristocratic institutions.
- What animals signify other countries?
- Other “words” in the turkey lexicon include a contact call that sounds like a yelp (keouk, keouk, keouk), an alarm (putt), and a cluck that’s used as an assembly note (kut).
- “The wild turkey is, in every way, the king of American game birds,” Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1893.
- What other American game birds can you identify?
- Wild turkeys were thought to be threatened until conservation efforts helped populations rebound in the 20th century.