The first funny thing you may have learned about turkeys is that you can draw one by tracing around your hand placed palm down on a piece of paper. You probably added a beak and stick legs and maybe a wing. To be honest, that drawing doesn’t look much like a wild turkey.
Like that handprint turkey, some information about wild turkeys has little to do with reality. Misinformation spreads when facts about farm turkeys are thought to be facts about wild turkeys.
Farm turkeys and wild turkeys are the same species, but over hundreds of years they have become very different. Generations of farmers selected turkeys for their meatiness, not their survival abilities. Farmers pick only certain turkeys to have chicks; the especially meaty ones are likely to produce meaty offspring. In the wild, turkeys with the best survival traits live long enough to have chicks. These chicks inherit wily instincts and a robust, lean body type.
Nature Detectives Library
Every past issue of Nature Detectives can be found in the Nature Detectives Library!