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Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday's Foto

Native to North America, the Wild Turkey is far different from the selectively bred, white bird that people are accustomed to eating on Thanksgiving. The domestic turkey is actually originally derived from a southern Mexican subspecies of wild turkey.

Living primarily in mature forests, particularly ones with nut trees such as oak, hickory, or beech, interspersed with edges and fields, they can also be found in grasslands and swamps where they feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, and salamanders. Wild Turkeys were overhunted and by the early 20th century had disappeared from much of their traditional range. In the 1940s efforts were made to reintroduce them with birds being captured and relocated to areas where populations had been decimated but woodlands were recovering. It was so successful that Wild Turkeys now live in areas where they may not have occurred when Europeans first reached the Americas. Today, flocks are also found in Hawaii, Europe, and New Zealand. Around New York City small flocks can be found in Staten Island and the Bronx. For 10 years a single turkey given the name "Zelda" resided in Manhattan's Battery Park City.

The IUCN Red List lists this species conservation status as “Least Concern”.

The Wild Turkey’s scientific name, Meleagris gallopavo, means guineafowl peacock (“Gesner’s (1555) name for the Wild Turkey, because its overall appearance is that of a fowl but in its size and bright tail it resembles a peacock.”) There is speculation that the English name of the bird may have come about from early shipping routes that passed through the country of Turkey on their way to delivering the birds to European markets.

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