Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans! I hope that at this point in your day that your bellies are bloated and your pants are unbuttoned and you are feeling the warm sleepiness from your turkey or your tofurkey if you prefer. Or at least the full warmth from your food if you don’t eat either. For those of you beyond the U.S. I hope that your Thursday is warm and happy before heading into your weekend!

I think most people will agree that turkey is delicious, as an animal lover this both saddens me and makes me hungry. But any way you spin it, it’s true. Turkey is the centerpiece at the magnificent goodie covered table. All the family fighting, stressful kitchen messes and meaningless chatter seem insignificant when that perfectly cooked turkey is placed on the table and everyone pauses to admire it.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and celebrate the time with loved ones before we head into the Christmas Season. And since the turkey is such an important part of Thanksgiving, I think it’s only fair that we give our thanks and our respect to those delicious fowl that provide us with such a lovely meal and a full tummy on this Thursday.

Did you know…?

Wild Turkeys were nearly hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. The population dipped below 30,000 but thanks to restoration programs, the wild turkey population is up to roughly seven million.

The length of the snood (the dangly appendage that looks like the turkey has a large booger) is relate to the health of the male turkey. The longer the snood, the healthier and the more attractive the male is to the females. (Hey fellas, it’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean!)

Male and female turkeys poop differently. Don’t get grossed out, everybody poops! Male turkeys produce a spiral-shaped poop while the females poop in a J shape. Eventually the female will evolve so that they will be able to write messages in feces.

There has been much debate regarding whether Benjamin Franklin suggested the Turkey replace the Bald Eagle as the symbol of America. I still have no idea if this is true, if you see Ben, ask him and report back. However, he did praise the Turkey claiming it was a “much more respectable bird” than the Bald Eagle.

Wild turkeys can actually fly, granted it’s only for a short distance. But they can give a short burst of speeds up to 55 miles per hour. However they stick close to the ground because that’s where the food is. Domesticated turkeys usually cannot fly because they are too heavy.

Turkeys have periscopic vision due to their eyes being on the sides of their head. Periscopic vision allows for the turkey to see objects that are not in their direct field of sight. Essentially they have 360 degrees if vision.

Blushing brides! Turkeys actually blush when stimulated. While they blush from various stimulation such as fear, agitation, illness or excitement. It’s still adorable. Compliment a turkey next time you meet one.

Turkeys have two stomachs and one holds their stones. Food is softened and broken down in the glandular stomach by gastric juices. After moving into the second stomach or gizzards the food grinds against tiny polished stones before ending up in the intestines. The stones aid in the digestion process because like other birds, turkeys do not have teeth.

Myth buster time! I got my cabby hat and my mustache on, so let’s do this! Turkey is not the cause of your drowsiness after finishing your Thanksgiving dinner! Mind blown! Many people believe that the amino acid called Tryptophan that is found in turkey is the cause of that sleepy feeling. But tryptophan is found in most protein-based foods and dietary proteins. The level of tryptophan in turkey is on par with the levels found in most poultries. In fact it is much higher in foods like eggs, cheese and chocolate. More than likely that drowsy feeling is a combination of turkey and carbohydrates which releases insulin. And through a long sciency explanation can cause drowsiness.

I hope this brief insight into the Turkey has given everyone a little bit deeper appreciation. And as we gather together and give thanks for what we have, let’s make sure to give thanks to this interesting creature for providing us leftovers for the next two weeks!