Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Gobble, Gobble. At Asheville Country Cabins you can occasionally expect the unexpected. Recently, one of our guests said that they heard an unexpected knocking at their cabin door one evening. “Who could that be?”, they asked. Lo and behold, when taking a sneak peek from the window, they saw a neighborly wild NC turkey. Surprising, yes and no. Afterall, this is Western North Carolina!
Now maybe that was just one friendly turkey, or probably more likely, it simply saw its reflection in the window. I find these experiences stimulate my curiosity. Suddenly, I crave learning more about these wild turkeys that you see quite often in our “neck of the woods”. Driving from Asheville Country Cabins, turning down onto Merrills Cove Road, it is not unusual to see a flock of wild turkeys. So let’s take this knocking on our cabin window as an opportunity to find out more about these wild birds.
Did you know that:
*The wild turkey is actually named after the country of Turkey.
*Adult males are called Toms, and females are called Hens.
*The male gobbles can be heard for a mile away.
*They have a running speed of about 25 mph.
*They can fly for short distances, with a flying speed of up to 55 mph.
*Wild turkeys have no teeth, but they do have 2 stomachs!!
*They sleep in trees.
*Wild turkeys almost became extinct in 1930 due to the decreasing forest habitats and overhunting. Conservationists, however, were the turkeys best allies. Their efforts paid off!
There are now about a million wild turkeys in North and Central America.
*They have great eyesight and peripheral vision. Their daytime vision is 3 times better than a human’s with a peripheral vision of 270 degrees. Their night vision is poor.
This next tidbit of information really shocked me! Apparently, it is very likely that turkey was not on the menu at the First Thanksgiving!!!! It seems that at that great feast in 1621, the menu consisted of waterfowl, venison, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Turkey didn’t become popular, as part of the Thanksgiving meal, for Americans until after President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
Finally, what is this about the Presidential Pardon for one turkey at Thanksgiving? This “Pardoning Turkey” ceremony dates back to the 1940’s when an occasional president would spare the bird presented to him. John F. Kennedy pardoned a turkey on November 19, 1963 by making the statement, “Let’s keep him going.” Ronald Reagan, however, was the first president to use the term “pardon” back in 1987.The yearly tradition, however, began with President George H.W. Bush.
Let’s put off writing about the holiday of Thanksgiving and its traditions in another blog. At least for now, I feel a bit more knowledgeable about these wild birds. Out of all these facts, which do you find most impressive? For me, it’s envisioning the First Thanksgiving without a turkey!!
Wild Facts About Turkeys