Nature

5 Texas Wild Turkey Facts to Share Over Thanksgiving Dinner

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In the coming week you’ll be seeing lots of turkeys – both in the media and probably on your plate at Thanksgiving – but what you might not know is that Texas is home to three subspecies of turkey: the eastern turkey, the Rio Grande Turkey and The Merriam’s turkey.

Here are 5 fascinating facts about Texas turkeys that you’re sure to gobble right up!

1. Wild Turkeys Have Between 5,000 and 6,000 Feathers 

turkey feathers

Photo: Pixabay/Skeeze

Wild turkeys have 5,000 to 6,000 feathers covering their bodies. These feathers provide insulation, lift during flight, touch and sensation, ornamentation, and waterproofing. Feathers are replaced during four molts, resulting in five different plumages throughout their lives.

2. They Will Eat Anything That Will Fit Into Their Mouths

turkeys eating

Photo: Facebook/USFWSMidwest

Turkeys are primarily herbivores, but they eat insects, snails, and other invertebrates. Major food items during the spring and summer include green grasses and weeds, buds, flowers, seeds, and insects. Insects are especially important for the development of young turkeys by providing them with a high protein food item. In the fall and winter, turkeys eat fruits, mast such as pecans and acorns, and green forage such as Texas winter grass, oats, wheat, and clovers depending upon their availability.

3. If Turkeys Could Smell, They’d be Nearly Impossible to Hunt

turkeys under tree

Photo: Pixabay/Skeeze

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the eyes and ears of a turkey make it one of the toughest of all Texas game animals. Their vision is the keenest among all Texas game. They are especially astute at pinpointing movement and can hone in on noises from a mile away.

4. Turkeys Almost Disappeared in Texas

wild turkey

Photo: Pixabay/Skeeze

A hundred years ago, turkeys almost disappeared from Texas due to unregulated hunting and loss of habitat. Now, thanks to both hunter and landowner support, bag limits, and a restocking program, they are making a steady comeback.

5. Wild Turkeys Can Fly

turkey in tree
Photo: Flickr/Cherry Bream

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