Chances are, a turkey will land on your table this week; a bird simmered in American tradition.
The turkey was once so common in America and so well liked that it was considered for our national emblem, along with the bald eagle.
Turkeys are large and powerful, standing three feet tall when alert. They have bare necks covered with red and blue, bumpy skin. Long legs, broad wings and tail make them swift runners, as well as quick flyers for short distances. Their feathers, over 5,000 of them, are large, mostly brown, barred with black. Body feathers reflect shades of bronze, green, gold and blue--beautiful colors that help turkeys blend into wooded areas.
Turkeys were domesticated by Native Americans and brought to Europe in the sixteenth century. Taken from Mexico by the Spanish conquistadors, turkeys later returned as domesticated birds with the English settlers. The wild turkey almost disappeared from our continent due to excessive hunting and loss of forest habitat. Today, thanks to restoration efforts, the wild turkey has been restored in many areas.
So, whether you place a wild turkey or domestic turkey on your thanksgiving table, you’ll be sharing a piece of our American heritage.
Watch the videos below on turkey restoration in Missouri and how to prepare your turkey harvest.
You can also find a variety of recipes for preparing wild turkey on our MDC website.