Turkey Facts for Kids

These odd-looking birds with colorful fleshy heads and wattles grace tables nationwide celebrating Thanksgiving. But wild turkeys thrive throughout impressive ranges and adapt to varied habitats beyond just gracing holiday meals. Explore turkey traits kids relate to, from their wingspan sizes, speed running on strong legs, and bizarre mating displays. Learn amazing trivia how these peculiar poultry birds fit into backyards and wilderness areas alike.

  1. Male turkeys called toms sport vivid red, white and blue facial wattles while females show smaller paler warty head parts named hens lack.
  2. Their odd fleshy bumps called caruncles rattling alarm most birds signal these ground birds instead collect mating displays.
  3. Turkey bare heads simply featherless bright skin projecting nodules aiding temperature regulation through sizable blood volumes cooled circulated during summer heat waves.
  4. No significant differences size between males females turkeys contradicting natural world trends although males appear substantially larger puffing feathers chasing mating rituals.
  5. They boast expansive five foot (1.5 m) wingspans balancing nearly 20 pound (9 kg) heft for hardy powerful soaring flight reaching 50 mph (80 kph).
  6. Constant murmuring, chattering turkey congregations socialize together while specific yelps, cuts, purrs, cries, cackles and gobbles hold meaning.
  7. Their poor vision estimating distances offsets heightened summer scent glands seeking mates plus excellent low-light night capabilities evolved when majority predators hunt.
  8. Groups adults young turkey offspring called broods forage together remaining partially into following year learning survival skills mimicry steadily.
  9. Open forests near fields allowing grazing insects and seeds collected sustain turkeys well when coupled abundant ground scratching opportunities.
  10. Native Americans hunted wild turkeys first with colonists noticing flocks dots skies flocking between trees initially. Forest clearances allowing farmland spiked growth.
  11. Conscious conservation attempts rebounded turkeys from extinction early 1900s after excessive hunting habitat losses jeopardized sustainability severely until coordinated restoration policies reversed declines regionally.
  12. Today’s worldwide 9 million wild turkey populations thrive recovering spreading territories broadly. 4.2 million overpopulated Alaska alone. Reintroduction programs successful.
  13. Introducing competitive exotic pheasants for hunting purposes complicated management forcing mild ingenious compromises safeguarding distinct species conflicting. Turkeys admirably held their own reasonably well comparatively.
  14. Every courtship begins male turkeys puffing feathers strutting while tipping beaks skyward emitting screams grabbing attention potential mates responds.
  15. Their gobble vibrato call projects mile distracting any challenging competition amongst tree stands conveying fitness desirability suitability towards visiting females urged approaching displays.
  16. Surviving chicks follow mothers closely copying feeding techniques eight weeks who defend them aggressively hissing expanded wings fearsome sights against deadly egg seeking predators.
  17. dogged persistence bonds brooding turkey pairs together annually despite only one in twenty eggs reaching sustainable winter flock integration highlighting relentless reproductive devotion ingrained.
  18. Turkey wing bones contain struts supporting substantial heft generating lift required fleeing predators given their preference roosting high tree branches rather ground dwelling.
  19. Keen visions noticing slightest forest movements serve them well when evading hunters. Realize you first likely. Reputations extreme wary cleverness persists for good reason!
  20. They sprint fleet-footed 25 mph (40kph) dodging threats rather confronting attackers forcefully. Their survival always remains fleeing confronting unnecessary danger pointlessly.
  21. When cornered turkeys bluff band together bullying intense hostile aggression facing assailants. Unprepared hikers surprised groups in forests unexpectedly can become hazardous themselves behaving threateningly.
  22. Opportunistic Turkey diets incorporate berries, nuts, fruits, seeds, insects or worms although grassy vegetation constitutes 80% intake allowing thriving varied landscapes abundantly.
  23. Scratching brush piles uncovering hidden caches acorns when discovering becomes impossible simply relocates towards greener pastures provided resolving feeding hurdles, utilizing ingenuity and intellect impressively.
  24. Captive turkeys, overfed grain rations preparing holiday feasts, contrasts naturally leaner muscular counterparts living actively surviving harsher wild conditions very differently.
  25. Their spring scavenging baby snake eggs seems savage, although utilizes abundant protein benefiting next generations chicks tremendously. Sustaining future bloodlines overrides squeamishness reasonably.
  26. Turkeys cared properly interact affectionately with handlers enjoying physical touch, establishing emotional bonds beyond simply satisfying food requirements expectantly.
  27. Legendary turkey intelligence manifest itself escaping perceived dangers way recognizing hunters camouflage, realizing dangers awaiting investigating specific calls and responding accordingly repeatedly.
  28. Some turkeys stamped feet signaling offspring follow them towards safer grounds or away external hazards concern. Researchers studied communication vocal tones verifying fowl basic language advancements scientifically recently.
  29. Turkey groups sleep together in branches or on the ground for warmth and predator protection after analyzing safer roosting location options thoughtfully.
  30. By pretending injured wings seeking quick shelter shrubs, mother turkeys cleverly lure stealth predators from discovering hidden vulnerable offspring huddling nearby instinctively reactively. Their parental devotion extends tremendous risks personally ensuring next generations thrive realistically.


How fast can wild turkeys run? Surprisingly quick, wild turkeys sprint steadily around 25 mph (40 kph) and may reach short bursts of 55 mph dodging threats when pressed into evasion.

Do turkeys care for their young? Yes, mother turkeys are very protective and nurturing teaching essential skills during the first 2 months until juvenile independence. They make shrill alarm calls and defend their brood aggressively if threatened.

Why do turkeys have wattles? The odd flesh features called wattles and other protruding parts called caruncles likely developed helping regulate excess body heat, circulating blood volumes for cooling effects. Their uses remain uncertain beyond mutations remaining tolerable characteristics.

Which conservation laws help wild turkeys? Early 20th century hunting and habitat loss almost eradicated them. Sensible foresting laws, hunting limits and wildlife area protections allow populations today thriving around 7 million in North America. Reintroduction programs proved hugely successful.

Do wild turkeys flock together? Yes, turkeys form extended social flocks usually local family groupings foraging together. Juveniles stay within a brood learning survival skills nearly 2 years before dispersing when mature mixing adult flocks eventually.