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The domestic, farm-raised turkey most Americans eat on Thanksgiving Day is nothing like the wild turkey feasted on by the Pilgrims and earlier Native Americans.

According to the National Wild Turkey Federation in Edgefield, S.C., the domestic, farm-raised turkey most Americans eat on Thanksgiving Day is nothing like the wild turkey feasted on by the Pilgrims and earlier Native Americans.

In honor of Thanksgiving Day, here are a few facts about the tasty game bird chosen as the main course for the first feast:

  • Wild turkeys, now almost 7 million strong, were almost extinct in the early 1900s.
  • Benjamin Franklin said the wild turkey was a more appropriate choice than bald eagle as our national bird.
  • Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph. Usain Bolt, the world's fastest-known human, averaged 23.35 mph during his world-record 100 meters.
  • With as many as 6,000 feathers, they can fly as fast as 55 mph. Most domestic turkeys are too heavy to fly.
  • Wild turkeys rarely weigh more than 24 pounds, while domestic turkeys regularly grow to more than 40 pounds.
  • They have much sharper vision than humans and can view their entire surroundings simply by turning their head.
  • Wild turkeys can make at least 28 different vocalizations, with gobbles heard up to a mile away.
  • Wild turkeys sleep in trees, often as high as 50 feet off the ground.

For more information, call John Brasier at (803) 637-7667 or email jbrasiernwtf.net.

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