Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris)
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- Wild Eastern hens have (brownish/copper tipped chest and flank and tail feathers)
The Wild Eastern Males have black tipped chest feathers and brownish/copper tipped tail and flank feathers.
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
This was the turkey species first encountered in the wild by the Puritans. Range covers the entire eastern half of the United States; extending also into Southeastern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces in Canada. They number from 5.1 to 5.3 million birds. They were first named forest turkey in 1817, and can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall. The upper tail coverts are tipped with chestnut brown. The Eastern Wild Turkey is heavily hunted in the Eastern USA and is the most hunted Wild Turkey subspecies.
The idea that Benjamin Franklin preferred the Turkey as the national bird of the United States comes from a letter he wrote to his daughter, Sarah Bache on January 26, 1784 criticizing the choice of the Bald Eagle as the national bird and suggesting that a Turkey would have made a better alternative.