Happy Thanksgiving, readers! In celebration of the holiday and the delicious meal soon to be consumed, we’re sharing five fun facts about the animal that almost became the United States national bird.
They’re Approved To Run At Speed In Residential Zones
Wild turkeys can run as fast as 25 miles per hour (and can fly as fast as 55 mph). Since domesticated turkeys are bred to be heavier in weight (roughly double that of wild turkeys, which usually weigh between five and 20 pounds), they can’t run quite as fast–which doesn’t matter much, since they’re so rarely presented with reasons to run at all.
Running Is Their Best Defense
When a predator threatens a rafter of turkeys in the wild, the gobblers typically elect to flee on foot. Though they can fly, they’re not endurance athletes–they can only maintain their top flying speed for about 400 meters before returning to the ground.
Believe It Or Not, Wild Turkeys Cross-Train
Though turkeys prefer to navigate their way through the world on land, they are capable of swimming and are fast in flight. If ever there was a sprint triathlon for birds with running, swimming and flying legs, we’d place our money on the turkey.
They’d Make Great Race Spectators
You know that super loud race day spectator that yells encouragement at their friends from the sidelines? Well, turkeys are kind of like that–only you won’t necessarily hear them cheering for you at a race. They are loud, though–their gobbles can be heard from a mile away. If only your personal cheering station could have that vocal power!
Healthy Fueling For Runners
Turkey meat is a healthy fueling option for runners. The light meat tends to be the healthiest, with fewer calories and fat than dark meat. According to the National Turkey Federation, the average American ate 16.7 pounds of turkey in 2016–that’s a lot of protein!