Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | November 15, 2007

2. Wild Turkeys

Wild turkeys patrolling campground

Wild turkeys patrolling campground

Wild turkeys are native to North America and live 10-12 years.

Seven million wild turkeys cover the eastern US and are scattered throughout large areas of the West, southern Canada, and northern Mexico.

Michigan turkeys number over 200,000 and inhabit most Michigan counties.

A flock of turkeys is called a rafter. Newly-hatched turkeys are chicks; juveniles are poults. Young males are jakes; young females are jennies. Mature males are toms or gobblers; mature females are hens.

Turkeys eat over 600 different plants and animals–berries, grains, grasses, ferns, acorns, nuts, seeds, fruit, roots, vines, buds, flowers, bulbs, crabs, lizards, frogs, millipedes, grasshoppers, snakes, worms, and spiders. They eat many pests, including insects, slugs, and snails.

Turkeys do not migrate in winter. During extreme weather they can fast for two weeks and lose half their weight. At night turkeys roost high in trees.

Wattles are folds of red skin hanging from turkey necks. The fleshy protuberance hanging over the bill is a snood which extends or contracts at will. Only God knows the purpose of these organs. The bare head and throat skin change color from gray to striking shades of red, white, and blue when excited or distressed. An adult turkey carries 5,000 to 6,000 feathers.

Turkey Romance

Wild gobblers weigh 16-24 pounds, hens 8-12 pounds. Toms are distinguished from hens by colorful plumage, beards, two-inch leg spurs, and much larger snoods.

Strutting Toms

Strutting Toms

Each spring toms befriend as many hens as possible, forming harems of five or more.

Toms puff up, swell and brighten wattles, fan out tails, swoop wings, gobble, and strut to impress hens. (Sound familiar, ladies?) Hens find this highly alluring. A courting tom is a grand sight.

After spring breeding, hens lay clutches of 9-18 eggs over about two weeks in shallow depressions they scratch in the ground, line with leaves, and conceal with vegetation. Eggs hatch in 30 days. The drab plumage of hens camouflages them, but nests are vulnerable to predators—raccoon, skunk, opossum, fox, snake, owl, crow, and hawk. Two-thirds of nests are unsuccessful in producing young. Hens will often re-nest after nest destruction.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the previous Thanksgiving blog post on turkeys:
1. Presidents and Turkeys

Read the next Thanksgiving blog post on turkeys:
3. Stalking and Talking Turkey

Read November’s Bible-Science newspaper column: Tofu Turkeys.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Thursday November 15, 2007 A.D.

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God,
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth;
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He who made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
(Psalm 95:1-7)

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