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Thanksgiving can be stressful, especially when you’re forced into making small talk with Aunt Beulah and Uncle Ogden who you haven’t seen in decades and don’t have a flea bit in common with besides a few random genes.

Never fear! This post will save your sanity, while it dazzles Beulah and Ogden with a wealth of tantalizing facts. You’ll see!

15 Things You May Not Know About Turkeys

  1. Benjamin Franklin wanted the Turkey to be the national bird of the United States instead of the Bald Eagle.
  2. It is NOT TRUE that domestic turkeys are so dumb that they will look up at falling rain until they drown.
  3. Turkeys lived almost ten million years ago.
  4. The wild turkey is native to Northern Mexico and the Eastern United States. [image: wild turkey, Wikipedia]
  5. The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.
  6. Baby turkeys are called “poults” and are tan and brown.
  7. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour, and run up to 20 miles per hour. Domestic turkeys have been bred so they cannot fly.
  8. Turkeys can see color and detect movement at almost a hundred yards away.
  9. The ballroom dance the “turkey trot” was named for the short, jerky steps that turkeys take.
  10. Wild turkeys spend the night in trees. They especially like oak trees.
  11. When fully mature, turkeys have 3,500 feathers.
  12. The phrase “talk turkey” means “to get down to business”, and originally came from an anecdote from the early 1800s.
  13. There are three cities in the United States named after this holiday bird: Turkey, Texas (population 492), Turkey Creek, Louisiana (population 357), and Turkey, North Carolina (population 269).
  14. Live Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented to presidents since the Lincoln administration. However, it wasn’t until the first Thanksgiving of President George H.W. Bush, in 1989, that a turkey was officially pardoned.
  15. Starting in 2005, Presidentially pardoned turkeys were flown to Disneyland, where they served as grand marshals of the theme park’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade and live out the rest of their lives at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland.

NOTE: For all you animal enthusiasts, I spoke at length with the animal care Cast Members at Big Thunder Ranch when I was at Disneyland. They assured me  that any animal at Big Thunder Ranch is only available to the public for minimal periods of time. Then they rotate the animals back into their private areas and bring out new animals, so they don’t get stressed from over exposure to the public.

Do you have any fun Thanksgiving facts to share?

Some of us need all the help we can get on these festive occasions!