Top, from left: Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Melody Lytle/Audubon Photography Awards; Ring-necked Pheasant, Lynn Cleveland/APA; California Quail, Pat Ulrich/APA; Bottom, from left: Wild Turkeys, Steve Green/APA; Willow Ptarmigan, NPS Photos/Katie Thoresen/Flickr Creative Commons; Spruce Grouse, Justin Peter/APA.

Quiz

Fowl or Foul: Which of These Wacky Bird Facts Are True?

How well do you know your North American fowl? Find out with this true/false quiz.

Turkeys, ptarmigans, pheasants, grouse, and quail—these birds are all capable of doing crazy things. Take the Lesser Prairie-Chicken for example. To show off to the ladies, the males suck air in and out of the ping pong balls on the sides of their neck, make weird moaning sounds, and do a snazzy quick-feet display, all at the same time. So the real question is, just how crazy can these birds be? Try this true/false quiz, and check the answers below to see if you can separate fowl truth from fiction.

1. Wild Turkeys are total slow pokes in the sky: Their max speed in flight is just 20 miles per hour.

2. Forget turduckens—try a "craburkey" at your next holiday feast instead. In Hawaii, turkeys have been observed roaming the beach, foraging for crabs. 

3. Check out the soundtrack for this summer’s blockbuster movie Jurassic World and you’ll find the goofy sounds of a Willow Ptarmigan. 

4. The female Ring-necked Pheasants form harems during mating season. A clique of hens all tend to fall for and mate with the same male.

5. Ground squirrels have some major beef with the California Quail and it's impacting the quail's population. 

6. The Spruce Grouse gets its name from eating spruce needles, all day, every day.

7. Wildfires are pushing the Spruce Grouse out of its vital habitat, which spans conifer and boreal forests across the northern United States, Canada, and Alaska.

8. The pioneers thought the Lesser Prairie-Chicken tasted more like muskrat, less like chicken.

 

Answers:

1. False. Give the turkey some credit—it can fly as fast as 60 miles per hour. That’s even faster than a Triple Crown winner.

2. True. Now if it’s kosher or not . . . that’s a whole different question.

3. True. Yet, Isla Nublar is quite far from the Arctic Tundra, isn’t it? This isn’t the ptarmigan’s first stint in Hollywood: It was also in the opening scene of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was set in the Peruvian jungle. Do better Spielberg!

4. True. The original Sister WivesRing-necked Pheasant harems can contain as many as 12 hens.

5. True. The Beechey’s squirrel is notorious for robbing California Quail nests and eating the eggs.

6. Trick question. While the Spruce Grouse does eat spruce needles, its go-to meal is actually pine needles. So . . . false.

7. False. The grouse actually depends on fire to upgrade its habitat. Out West, the species is being threatened by the mountain pine beetle, which is taking down entire stands of lodgepole pine trees.

8. False. Come on guys, that's just rude . . . The best theory as to why it's called the Lesser Prairie-Chicken is because it's smaller and pastier than the Greater Prairie-Chicken.