Numbers Game: Turkeys

Photo: NixBC, Flickr Creative Commons

There are a ton of pretty amazing Thanksgiving-related stats in general, like the fact that by the end of this year, the U.S. will have produced somewhere around 750 million pounds of cranberries (not all for the one November meal, of course) or that the average American consumed more than 13 pounds of turkey during 2009 alone. Kind of crazy.

But since we’re a magazine that loves to write about birds, here are some fun numbers about turkeys—the wild kind—from the National Wild Turkey Federation, the PBS documentary “My Life as a Turkey” (which we’ll review later this week), Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Editor’s note: Keep checking the blog for more turkey-tastic content between now and November 24.

5 – Sub-species of wild turkey: Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, Merriam’s and Gould’s. (NWTF)

6,000 – Number of feathers that cover a turkey, in what are called feather tracts. “A turkey’s feathers provide a variety of survival functions,” according to the National Wild Turkey Federation. “They keep him warm and dry, allow him to fly, feel and show off for the opposite sex.” (NWTF)

24 – Pounds a male wild turkey can weigh. (PBS)

25 – Miles per hour a wild turkey can run. (PBS)

200 – Number of individuals that can be seen in winter groups of hens and their broods. (Cornell)

17 – Max number of eggs in a wild turkey clutch. (Cornell)

248 million – Expected number of turkeys raised in the United States in 2011. (Census Bureau)

7.1 billion – Combined weight, in pounds, of turkeys raised in the U.S. in 2010. (Census Bureau)

30 – Total number of different calls a wild turkey can make. (PBS)

1.3 million – Global population of wild turkeys. (Cornell) 

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