Thankful Turklings!

21 11 2011

The turkey is an American celebrity. It is one of the most famous birds in North America. In fact, Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey the national bird of the United States instead of the bald eagle!The wild turkey we usually see in pictures is not the same as the domestic turkey that we eat at Thanksgiving. Domestic or tame turkeys weigh twice what a wild turkey does and are raised on farms. Most domestic turkeys are so heavy they are unable to fly.

Wild turkeys on the other hand, can fly. They sleep in the low branches of trees at night, and how else would they get to their bed but by flying. They spend their days foraging for food like acorns, seeds, small insects and wild berries. Wild turkeys are covered with dark feathers that help them blend in with their woodland homes. The bare skin on the throat and head of a turkey can change color from flat gray to striking shades of red, white, and blue when the bird becomes distressed or excited.

Each spring male turkeys try to befriend as many females as possible. Male turkeys, also called “tom turkeys” or “gobblers” puff up their bodies and spread their tail feathers, like a peacock. They grunt, make a gobble-gobble sound and strut about shaking their feathers. This fancy turkey trot helps the male attract female “hens” for mating.

After the female turkey mates, she prepares a nest under a bush in the woods and lays her tan and speckled brown eggs. She incubates as many as 18 eggs at a time. It takes about a month for the chicks to hatch. When the babies, known as “poults” or “turklings” hatch, they flock with their mother all year.

If you want to get into the Thanksgiving spirit, you can celebrate the celebrity of the turkey with us and make your own little turkling!

Follow the link below for instructions!

  • Grab a white sheet of paper, some washable markers, scissors and colored paper (brown, black, yellow, red, and white)
  • Place your hand on the white sheet of paper, with the center of your palm in the center of the page
  • Use the colored markers to trace the outline of your hand
  • Continue doing this until you have created a fan of fingers across the page
  • Cut out a round piece of brown paper and glue it in the center, where your palm had been, this is the body of the turkey
  • Cut out a round shape using red paper, for the neck of the turkey and glue it close to the bottom of the brown circle
  • Now cut out and glue an oval shape (in a different color of brown) over the round body, and the red circle, this is the head
  • Now cut out gold or yellow triangles, one large, and two smaller. Glue the large one towards the bottom of the oval piece, this is the beak. Glue the smaller triangles at the very bottom of the turkey’s body, these are the feet
  • Cut out 2 white circles and 2 black circles. Make the black circles smaller, these are the insides of the eyes, and glue this to the oval piece
  • Finish by writing “I am thankful for…” at the top along with your name, then write in all the things you are thankful for inside the turkey’s feathers
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