Did you know that turkeys risk drowning

01:00 Mon 16th Dec 2002 |

Q. Did Sir Walter Raleigh discover the Turkey
A. No. Although he is often linked with the bird being brought back to England, the natives of America had noticed the running around for quite a while before he got there - they are thought to date back 10 million years.

Q. So who first brought them back
A. Probably a Yorkshireman by the name of William Strickland, in 1526. He got six birds from Indian traders, and sold them for tuppence each when he returned to Bristol.

Q. Was he ahead of his time
A. Not really. Many European settlers had been quick to appreciate the benefits of a large ungainly and dim bird that flocked in large numbers. By the 16th century they were already being bred in England, and were well known to the Pilgrims.

Q. Why are the Pilgrims relevant
A. When they arrived in America in 1621, they had a feast to celebrate their arrival and included turkey in the 'Thanksgiving' meal, which:
1. Established a US national holiday
2. Meant doom for 46 million American turkeys a year

Q. Is Turkey the national bird of America
A. No, but it came close. Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey, and when the bald eagle was chosen complained about the bird's 'bad moral character'.
The beast is so ingrained in the way of life that when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate their first meal on the moon, their foil food packets contained roast turkey and trimmings.

Q. They love turkeys
A. You betcha. June is National Turkey Lovers' Month!

Q. How did the turkey gets its name
A. 2 reasonable theories:
1. The Native American word for turkey is 'firkee'
2. When scared, a turkey makes a noise that sounds like "turk, turk"

Turkey Malarky
Whole deep fried turkey is popular in Southern States.
A baby turkey is called a 'fryer'; a five month old bird is fondly dubbed a 'roaster'.
Male turkeys are called 'toms' not cocks
Only toms make the 'gobble-gobble' sound; the hens 'click'
Wild turkeys can fly at 55 mph. Dometicated turkeys can't even get off the ground.

The Apache wouldn't use turkey feathers for arrows as they thought the bird was a coward.

And the fact that prompted the headline

Turkeys can drown if they look up when it is raining!

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