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The wild turkey has five distinct subspecies found in the United States, one of which is recognized as North Americas' largest game bird and furthermore almost became the United States National Symbol. It’s the Turkey. Benjamin Franklin felt the turkey was a better choice than the bald eagle, which he felt was "a coward." How did the Turkey get it’s name? Well There are several possible definitions, It may have come from the turkey's call which sounds like "turk-turk-turk" it also may have come from The American Indian name which was "firkee". Another possibility may have been when Christopher Columbus took some turkeys back to Europe to trade with merchants from Turkey who were trading "turkey birds". And yet another explanation says Columbus thought the turkey was part of the peacock family and called them "tuka" which is the word for peacock in the language of India. The species we find in Michigan is the eastern wild turkey, which is the most widely abundant turkey subspecies found in the United States. Turkeys can suffer heart attacks and this was demonstrated When the Air Force was conducting tests breaking the sound barrier; fields of turkeys would drop dead. Turkeys are also a fast bird, both on land and in the air; a spooked turkey can run 20 miles per hour and fly 55 mph. Besides being fast, they have excellent sight and are able to spot movement a hundred yards away. There field of vision is 270 degrees and they see in color, which is one reason they don’t see well at night. They also have a loud voice and can be heard a mile away. Contrary to what most of us were taught in school, turkey probably was not the main course at the pilgrims' first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621. Venison and lobster were the prime dishes but turkey was a mainstay of the early colonists' diet. When the first settlers arrived to America there were about 10 million wild turkeys. It was not always that way and by 1900 the Turkey was almost completely wiped out due to loss of habitat and over harvesting. Today the Wild Turkey population is healthy and Turkeys can be found in every state in the United States except Alaska. I want to leave you with these facts, the average American eats around 18 pounds of turkey each year, the heaviest domesticated turkey on record weighed 86 pounds, and for their first meal on the moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roast turkey in foil packets.









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