The Turkey: An American Story

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, you might be thinking a lot about turkeys. If not, maybe you need a little inspiration. Turkeys are interesting birds and have a truly American story. The Turkey: An American Story is a book in the MVCC Library’s collection that covers both myth and fact about the species and the history of how the turkey came to be such an iconic bird in the United States.

Myth: Turkeys are not very intelligent because they have been known to drown in a rainstorm. While it is true that turkeys can drown in a storm, it is due to their anatomy rather than intelligence and they have in fact been shown to be very intelligent.

Fact: Turkeys can be a great help to farmers. Turkeys eat almost anything but they especially love bugs and worms. They are incredibly efficient at ridding crops of pests. Fifty turkeys can clear pests from 100,000 plants.

Here are some other interesting facts to know about turkeys:

  • Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph and can fly at 55 mph.
  • Turkeys can produce 20 distinct sounds. One of these is the gobble that males produce to attract females.
  • The red, dangly part under the turkey’s chin is called a waddle and the fleshy part over the beak is called a snood.
  • The color on a turkey’s head and throat can change between red and blue depending on its level of excitement or stress.
  • Droppings can tell us the gender of the bird. Males leave spiral-shaped droppings, while females produce a J shape.

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