Posts Tagged ‘Meleagris gallopavo’

Turkeys Fight Back!

November 25, 2021

Turkeys Fight Back!

By now you may have settled down into a post-Thanksgiving poultry-induced stupor, but watch out. In many parts of America, native wild turkeys are giving people a good basting. The meleagris gallopavo have come back from near-extinction, and now millions of the 4-foot-tall beasts are reclaiming their turf with a vengance:

“In New Hampshire a motorcyclist crashed after being assaulted. In New Jersey, a terrified postman rang 911 after a dozen members attacked at once. And in Michigan, one town armed public workers with pepper spray.

In September, the Daily Messenger in upstate New York had had enough and published a tongue-in-cheek call to arms: ‘We need to call out the militia, folks. This could be the greatest threat against humans and their civilization since Krakatau erupted. Wild turkey all over America are rioting, rising up in rebellion against the influx of people into their habitat.’”

— “How wild turkeys’ rough and rowdy ways are creating havoc in US cities,” Alice Hutton, The Guardian

Short link:

Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. If you need to warn folks near a domestic turkey factory farm, download an appropriate graphic here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


Turkey Terror Stalks America’s Cities!

May 12, 2017

Turkey Terror Stalks America's Cities!
There’s a new gang terrorising the streets of Boston: Meleagris gallopavo. That’s right, wild turkeys are attacking people and vehicles, and the police do nothing. Thanks, Obama Trump!


Turkeys, Wild and Otherwise

November 25, 2014

Turkeys, Wild and Otherwise
There may or may not have been turkey at the first thanksgiving, but there will probably be one on your holiday table. Centuries before Columbus, the Aztecs domesticated wild turkeys, and Spanish conquerors took some birds home to Europe where they became popular, reaching England between 1524 and 1541. That means the New England “pilgrim” Puritans were as familiar with turkeys as their Wampanoag dinner guests, but neither would recognize the over-bred bird you bought this week.

A wild tom turkey usually weighs about 20 pounds and can fly for up to a mile with speed bursts up to 55 miles per hour. It’s dark-feathered, sly, slim, tall and long-legged, and can run like the devil through the brush. It can live up to 10 years if it doesn’t get an infection and can be found in any of the contiguous 48 states.

A domestic tom turkey can weigh up to 40 pounds, has white feathers, stumps around on short legs, and sports a huge breast. Most market turkeys come from Minnesota or North Carolina. A domestic turkey can’t fly or reproduce normally, is treated with antibiotics, and only lives for 2 or 3 months before it gets slaughtered for your dining pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving!


“Head To Head: Wild Vs. Supermarket Turkeys (Infographic),” World Science Festival

“Wild and domestic turkeys: birds of a different feather,” South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

“On This Thanksgiving, Celebrating The Wild Turkey,” Barbara J. King, NPR


“Look How Much Bigger Thanksgiving Turkeys Are Today Than in the 1930s,” Kiera Butler, Mother Jones 

“How Turkeys Got Broad, White Breasts,” Sara Bir, Modern Farmer

“How America’s Thanksgiving turkeys got so huge,” Svati Kirsten Narula, Quartz

“Benjamin Franklin praises the virtues of the turkey,” from a 1784 letter to his daughter via Lapham’s Quarterly

“Get to Know the Turkey Species You Don’t Eat,” Matt Somiak, Mental Floss


Short link:

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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