Our first American tradition of Thanksgiving dinner began in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621. There were 140 people in attendance and it is likely that for that first feast turkey may not have been served at all but it was likely duck or goose. Also venison was likely served.
Have you ever seen a wild turkey? For many people today the only turkey they have seen was frozen and already prepared for cooking.
Historically, the African guineafowl was imported to Europe via the country Turkey. The American species was originally considered to be in the guineafowl and thus the association to the name Turkey.
According to Audubon Magazine: “The reintroduction of the wild turkey to North America is frequently touted as the greatest wildlife conservation success story of the last century.”
The National Wild Turkey Federation has reported that “turkeys were extirpated in Connecticut by 1813 and Vermont by 1842, and that by 1920 they had vanished from 18 of their native 39 states.”
Today wild turkeys in the United States and Canada number approximately 7 million. There is some concern for wild turkeys in several southeastern states where they are diminishing due to reproductive declines. There is much research going on to determine what is happening in these southern states.
Are you having turkey this year for your Thanksgiving meal?
Introductory Photo by Don McCulloch via Flickr