By: Dawn Wilson

This week’s featured animal is the wild turkey. Although it may seem obvious to select the turkey for the week of Thanksgiving, there are many fascinating features about this unique-looking bird. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy Turkey Day!

1. According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an adult turkey has 5,000 to 6,000 feathers.

2. The word “turkey” is believed to have derived from Turkish merchants bringing the bird into Europe.

3. There are several terms for the different sexes of turkeys: gobblers or toms are male turkeys; hens are female turkeys; jakes are young male turkeys; jennies are young female turkeys.

4. Don’t let the clumsy look of this ground bird fool you. They can move up to 18 miles per hour on foot and up to 50 miles per hour in flight.

5. Hunted to almost extinction in the early 1900s, there are more than

6 million wild turkeys in the U. S. today, according to the National Wild Turkey Foundation.

Dawn Wilson is a professional and award-winning nature photographer who lives in Estes Park year-round. You can see more of her work, join one of her Rocky tours, and purchase prints and calendars at or follow her on Instagram: @dawnwilsonphoto.

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