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December 2, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--So you thought there was nothing to know about turkeys except whether you liked drumsticks or white meat. Think again. Here are some fascinating facts provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

  1. Enough with gobble, gobble. Turkeys also cluck http://bit.ly/1sfVooH  and purr http://1.usa.gov/11gk7OY
  2. Turkey droppings tell a bird’s sex and age. Male droppings are j-shaped; female droppings are spiral-shaped. The larger the diameter, the older the bird.  
  3. Feather-hanger: An adult turkey has 5,000 to 6,000 feathers – count them! – on its body.
  4. Tom turkeys aren’t the only ones that swagger and fan their tail feathers to woo mates and ward off rivals. Some hens strut, too.
  5. Crunchy treats. Young turkeys – poults – scarf down insects like candy. They develop more of a taste for plants after they’re four weeks old.
  6. They may look off-kilter – tilting their heads and staring at the sky – yet they’re fast. Turkeys can clock more than 12 miles per hour.
  7. Move over, American bald eagle. Ben Franklin called the wild turkey a “bird of courage” and thought it would make a better national symbol.  
  8. Wild turkeys are not hard to find. National wildlife refuges are great places to look –while you enjoy a stroll in nature and emerge looking less like a butterball yourself.  (Editor’s note: Wild turkeys are also now plentiful in the mountains of East County.)

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