Giving Thanks for Turkeys–and Other Things

Steph_2 copy (2)This post by Stephanie Stamm.

What do you think of when you think of Thanksgiving? Family, friends, food, the history of the holiday? I’d guess that two of the first things that come to mind for most of us are the purpose of the holiday—that is, giving thanks— and the center of the traditional Thanksgiving meal—the turkey. So, I give you 10 Facts About Turkeys, along with 10 Things To Be Thankful For.

  1. From near extinction in the 1930s, the wild turkey population has grown to over 7 million, and they range throughout North America.
    I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful for those more than 7 million turkeys, and for the power of life to regenerate and to come back from the brink of extinction.
  2. Turkeys eat many different foods, including grass, grain, berries, insects, and even small reptiles.
    Like turkeys, we humans are omnivores (though some of us choose not to eat meat). And we can give thanks for all the many things we have to eat—including the turkey that may grace our table—and for the ability to share what we have with others.
  3. Turkeys like to sleep perched on tree branches to be safe from predators like coyotes and foxes.
    “Meleagris ocellata1”

    Let us be thankful for safe places to sleep—and for those who provide shelter and beds for those in need.

  4. Wild turkeys can run at up to 25 miles per hour and fly for short bursts at up to 55 miles per hour.
    I can’t fly—at least on my own power—but I’m grateful for the ability to walk and run and dance and move. These bodies we have are amazing, and mostly we take them for granted. They deserve some gratitude.
  5. To make babies, turkey hens lay 10 to 12 eggs, one per day, and then incubate the eggs for about 28 days.
    New little turkeys in 28 days—how cool is that! Thanks for reproduction in all its forms.
  6. Wild turkeys see in color and, though they have poor night vision, their daytime vision is three times better than a human’s.
    Senses vary not just from species to species, but from one person to another. Some of us don’t have the use of some senses. But we, like all of nature, have a remarkable ability to accommodate—for one sense to strengthen to compensate for the weakness or absence of another. That adaptability is something else to be thankful for.
  7. The skin on a turkey’s neck, face, and snood (the flap of skin that hangs over the beak) change color with the turkey’s emotions.
    Ah, yes, emotions. Sometimes they hurt us, and make us wish we didn’t feel them so deeply. But life wouldn’t be life without them. We can give thanks for the ability to feel and for the depth of emotion that brings us together and shows us how much we share.
  8. Male adult wild turkeys have 18 feathers in their tail fans. Adult turkeys have about 5,500 feathers total.
    Thanks be to nature for the feathers and the consistency of their numbers. And thanks be to the people who counted them! (Five thousand and one, five thousand and two, five thousand and…)
  9. A group of turkeys is called a rafter.
    As someone who likes words, I’m grateful to know that a group of turkeys is a rafter. An exultation of larks, a murder of crows, and a rafter of turkeys…hmmm, doesn’t quite have the same ring, but still…
  10. Turkeys recognize each other by their unique voices.
    Be grateful for your own uniqueness, your voice, your gift. Only you can sing your song, tell your story, live your life. Speak up, so the other turkeys can recognize you!
“2006-ca-turkey” by Yathin S Krishnappa

And one extra fact about turkeys that I just have to share, though I decided it was probably best not to include a gratitude reflection for this one:

  1. Snood length is associated with male turkey health, and it seems female turkeys prefer males with long snoods.
    I guess size does matter. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



You can find these and more turkey facts at the following links:

Turkey photos from


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I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy A Gift of Wings(The sequel, A Gift of Shadows, will be released Dec. 10, 2014.)





I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover



17 thoughts on “Giving Thanks for Turkeys–and Other Things

  1. This almost makes me reluctant to eat these interesting creatures, but I realize that not eating turkey isn’t going to stop people from killing the birds so I may as well enjoy the taste, right? Happy Thanksgiving.


    1. I kind of felt the same way when I was finding these facts, Abbie. But, yes, I’ll still eat turkey tomorrow. Perhaps as part of our thanksgiving, we can thank the bird for the food it provides.


  2. Some great facts, many I did not know. That is a beautiful Turkey photo. I’ve never seen one in the wild look like that. I’ve seen many Rafters of Turkeys on the military bases, that we deliver to, they are protected there, and so are the herds of deer. we often have to stop and wait on them to cross the road. I loved the Thankful thoughts too. Thanks Cher’ley


    1. Thanks, Cher’ley! You know, I think someone else commented as Wranglers earlier and I thought it was you. I love that you have to stop and wait on herds of deer to cross the road. (I suppose it could get annoying if you are in a hurry, but how cool to see a whole herd like that.) I thought the photo was lovely too.


  3. Very fun, and I loved the way you tie the two together. Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone who reads this post. May your bounties be numerous. Doris


  4. Great post for the Thanksgiving Holiday! In our rural area we have many rafters of turkeys and we often have to stop to let them cross the road. They’re healthy and well filled out and they are beautiful creatures to watch. The facts you supplied are awesome; Thanks, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Thanks, Linda, and Happy Thanksgiving to you too! My brother lives in the country, and I see rafters of turkeys (though I didn’t know they were called that before) when I visit him. They are interesting and beautiful birds.


  5. Ah, November 26, when thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and stomach aches … whoops, I mean wonderful, filling meals. Enjoyed your facts on wild turkeys… may they never again be near extinction.


    1. Amen, Mike, about the turkeys. I’m going to try to exercise some restraint at the table this year–but I say that every year and it never works out as planned. Even a little of everything ends up being too much!


  6. That was great, Stephanie – and I like the ‘rafter’ of turkeys. I can picture a whole line of ’em up in the rafters of a huge barn, all muttering away in their own unique voices.


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