I am fascinated by Wild Turkeys. Aren’t we all when it’s Thanksgiving? They are large, beautiful birds.
Early historical reports show amazing numbers of turkey populations.
In 1540 Hernando de Soto’s soldiers were given large numbers of turkeys; 700 in one account.
In 1612 an author wrote that Wild Turkeys were like pheasants in England; forty in a company and the best meat for eating.
Another report from the early 1800’s chronicled a thousand birds in the woods one day.
With a seemingly endless abundance and such good eating, the turkey was heavily hunted by settlers. Also, habitat loss with westward movement was an additional blow to the turkey population. By the 1930’s there were only 30,000 birds left in North America.
However, with conservation and reintroduction efforts the Wild Turkey is now 7 million strong. They can be found in every state (including a localized population in Alaska) as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
I am so pleased this North American icon is once again very abundant.