Cheboygan State Park, Straits of Mackinac, Michigan - USA / CheboyganStatePark-53- Wild Turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo )
C.Psenka 2008 for Cheboygan State Park -
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Wild Turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo )


The Michigan DNR provides:

"The wild turkey is one of the largest birds in North America. An adult male can grow up to 4 feet long from his beak to his tail. Wild turkeys live in open fields and woods and nest on the ground. Wild turkeys prefer to eat insects, grasses, nuts, and berries.

The "beard" that grows from the center of a wild turkey's breast is actually a group of modified feathers that look like hair. Beards are most commonly found on adult male turkeys (called gobblers), although females (called hens) will grow them occasionally.

In spite of its large size and rather awkward appearance, the wild turkey is a powerful flier, reaching speeds of up to 55 mph over short distances. Turkeys will most often fly hard and fast up through the treetops, then set their wings and glide back to the ground.

Benjamin Franklin wanted wild turkeys to be our national symbol instead of the bald eagle. He felt that the stately, majestic qualities of the wild turkey would make it a fine symbol for the new country.

Most people are familiar with the term "flock of pigeons" and even "gaggle of geese," but did you know that a group of turkeys is called a "rafter"? And baby turkeys are called poults."

See the Michigan Department of Natural Resources page for Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)