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Turkeys

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Wild Turkeys have the word “wild” in their name to distinguish them from the birds that have been domesticated for centuries and bred for their meat and feathers. Florida is one of the prime native homes for Wild Turkeys although they now occur in almost every state as a result of introductions and other conservation efforts. They also occur naturally well into Latin America – where the first domesticated turkeys were found by early explorers and taken back to Europe. There were so few that they were not regularly eaten, but kept for special occasions – such as our Thanksgiving and other holidays. Wild Turkeys are related to pheasants, quails, and yes, even jungle fowl (the wild ancestors of our chickens). Males are easily distinguished from females by the black tips of breast and back feathers on males and brown to buff tips of the same feathers of females. Males are also generally larger than females. Males have spurs on their back of their legs; females only occasionally have spurs.