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Turkey Time (30) More files...
This week Americans traditionally gather around a large crowded table to celebrate Thanksgiving with a roasted turkey as the main dish. This year will be a bit different with smaller, outdoor gatherings or none at all. Regardless, turkeys will be eaten.

When you tuck in to your big meal on Thursday, share these interesting facts about Meleagris gallopavo, the wild turkey:

1. Wild Turkeys get around mostly by walking, though they can also can clock 18 miles per hour on foot and up to 50 miles per hour in flight.
2. The species occurs naturally in every US state except Alaska.
3. Turkey fossils have been unearthed across the southern United States and Mexico, some of them dating from more than 5 million years ago.
4. Newly hatched chicks follow the female, who feeds them for a few days until they learn to find food on their own. As the chicks grow, they band into groups composed of several hens and their broods. Winter groups sometimes exceed 200 turkeys.
5. A group of turkeys has many awesome and unusual descriptive nouns, including a “crop”, “dole”, “gang”, “posse”, and “raffle.”
6. The estimated global breeding population is 7.8 million with about 89% living in the U.S., 10% in Mexico, and 2% in Canada.
7. Females are called hens; adult males are toms or gobblers while juvenile males are jakes; chicks are called poults.
8. If you look closely at these photos you will see spurs on the legs of the males - these are used during territorial battles.
9. Check out the close up portraits of the toms; you will see fleshy growths called caruncles.
10. An adult turkey can have up to 6,000 feathers!
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, western Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00432371 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males displaying, North America
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00596582 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males displaying, North America© Mark Raycroft
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males fighting, western Montana
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00558272 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males fighting, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male, western Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00546116 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, Troy, Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00498038 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, Troy, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males running, western Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00432361 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males running, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) group foraging in snow, western Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00428659 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) group foraging in snow, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying near home, North America
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00596596 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying near home, North America© Mark Raycroft
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male calling, Montana
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00642773 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male calling, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male, Troy, Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00498035 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male, Troy, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male courting females, North America
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00596585 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male courting females, North America© Mark Raycroft
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) eggs in nest, Montana
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00642774 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) eggs in nest, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male in autumn forest, western Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00428653 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male in autumn forest, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males fighting, western Montana
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00558269 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males fighting, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
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00567886 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina© Steve Gettle
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) pair mating, Troy, Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00441408 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) pair mating, Troy, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male showing beard, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas  -  Tim Fitzharris
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00442673 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male showing beard, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas© Tim Fitzharris
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) chicks, western Montana
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00642779 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) chicks, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) mother and chick, western Montana
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00642778 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) mother and chick, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, Troy, Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00498041 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, Troy, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, Troy, Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00498046 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male displaying, Troy, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) pair near fence with no hunting sign, western Montana  -  Donald M. Jones
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00546110 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) pair near fence with no hunting sign, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) spurs on male's leg, western Montana
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00558267 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) spurs on male's leg, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) flock, Rocky Mountain, western Montana
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00558278 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) flock, Rocky Mountain, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males fighting, western Montana
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00558281 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males fighting, western Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male flying, Serranias del Burro, Coahuila state, Mexico  -  Patricio Robles Gil/ Sierra Madr
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00590618 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male flying, Serranias del Burro, Coahuila state, Mexico© Patricio Robles Gil/ Sierra Madre
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male calling in snow, Montana
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00591012 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) male calling in snow, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males courting females, North America
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00596583 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males courting females, North America© Mark Raycroft
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males calling, Montana
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00642772 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) males calling, Montana© Donald M. Jones
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) tom, southern Arizona
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00558259 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) tom, southern Arizona© Donald M. Jones
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