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Word Count: 572
The wild turkey the largest game bird in North America is related to pheasants quail and grouse It is found throughout the United States except for Alaska and in parts of Canada and Mexico There are five recognized sub-species which vary slightly in color and size The male wild turkey called the tom or the gobbler is a large robust bird weighing upt o 30 pounds and standing as high as four feet tall His body color is brownish black with a metallic iridescent sheen The head and neck nearly bald vary from white to blue to red Bright red fleshy bumps called carnucles droop from the front and sides of the neck and a fleshy flap of skin called a dewlap is attached to the throat and neck A fingerlike protrusion called a snood hangs over the front of the beak When the tom is alert the snood constricts and projects vertically as a fleshy bump at the top rear of the beak A clump of long coarse hairs called a beard protrudesfrom the front of the toms breast and may grow as long as 12 inches on older birds Each leg has a spur on it these spurs are small and rounded on young birds long pointed and usually very sharp on older birds The male is called a gobbler for a good reasonhis rattling deep-toned call is one of the most recognizable sounds in all of nature At mating time toms gobble with full-volume gusto attempting to attract hens for breeding Adult males display for hens by fanning their tail feathers puffing up their body feathers and dragging their wings as they strut Their heads and neck turn bright red during breeding season or when the tom is otherwise excited Adult females or hens are considerably smaller than toms rarely weighing more than 10 to 12 pounds Their overall body color is duller than themales and lacks his metallic iridescent sheen The
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