It's time for another whimsical Tuesday Turnip Google search wherein I type a random phrase and we see what kind of interesting factoids "turn-up."
"¢ Turkeys originated in North and Central America, and evidence indicates that they have been around for over 10 million years.
"¢ The American Indians hunted wild turkey for its sweet, juicy meat as early as 1000 AD. Turkey feathers were used to stabilize arrows and adorn ceremonial dress, and the spurs on the legs of wild tom turkeys were used as projectiles on arrowheads. They also shared a place in their folklore. The Navajos tell of an enormous hen turkey that flew over their fields bringing them corn and teaching them how to cultivate their crops. The Apache Indians considered the turkey timid and wouldn't eat it or use its feathers on their arrows.
"¢ In Mexico, the turkey was considered a sacrificial bird. As an article of tribute Montezuma received 365,000 turkeys per year from his subjects.
"¢ Benjamin Franklin was displeased when the bald eagle was chosen over his proposed "original native" turkey as a national symbol. He said the turkey is a more respectable bird and a true original native of America.
"¢ Until 1863, Thanksgiving day had not been celebrated annually since the first feast in 1621. This changed in 1863 when Sarah Josepha Hale encouraged Abraham Lincoln to set aside the last Thursday in November "as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer."
"¢ When U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin sat down to eat their first meal on the moon in their historic 1969 voyage, their foil food packets contained roasted turkey and all the trimmings.
"¢ Ninety percent of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Fifty percent eat turkey on Christmas.
"¢ Turkey eggs are pale creamy tan with brown speckles, and twice as large as chicken eggs. They hatch in 28 days. A baby turkey is called a poult and is tan and brown.
"¢ Domesticated turkeys (farm raised) cannot fly. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances at up to 55 miles per hour. Wild turkeys are also fast on the ground, running at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
"¢ Only male turkeys (toms) gobble; females (hens) make a clicking noise. The gobble is a seasonal call during the Spring and Fall. Hens are attracted for mating when a tom gobbles. Wild toms love to gobble when they hear loud sounds or settle in for the night.
"¢ Turkeys have great hearing, a poor sense of smell, but an excellent sense of taste. They can also see in color, and have excellent visual acuity and a wide field of vision (about 270 degrees), which makes sneaking up on them difficult.
"¢ Turkeys are fed mainly a balanced diet of corn and soybean meal mixed with a supplement of vitamins and minerals. On average, it takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound tom turkey.
"¢ Mature turkeys have 3,500 or so feathers at maturity.
"¢ The Guiness Book of Records states that the largest dressed weight (cooked, with dressing) recorded for a turkey is 39.09 kg (86 lb.) on December 12, 1989.
"¢ In 1999, about 273 million turkeys were raised in the United States. An estimated 276 million turkeys will be raised in 2000.
"¢ More than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten during Thanksgiving.
"¢ The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. A 15-pound turkey typically has about 70% white meat and 30% dark meat.
"¢ Americans feast on approximately 535 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving.
"¢ Last year 2.74 billion pounds of turkey were processed in the United States.
"¢ Californians are the biggest turkey eaters in the country. They eat three pounds more turkey than the average American consumer.
"¢ The good old-fashioned turkey sandwich is the most popular way for Americans to prepare the fowl, accounting for 44 percent of consumption.
"¢ North Carolina produces 61 million turkeys annually, more than any other state. Minnesota and Arkansas are number two and three.
"¢ In the last twenty years, Americans' love of turkey has soared. Consumption based upon USDA data indicates: