What is the South Carolina State Game Bird?
Eastern wild Turkey is the state game bird of South Carolina. Eastern Wild Turkey became the state game bird of South Carolina in 1976. This bird is native to North America. The males are called Toms. They have a huge, reddish, featherless head, reddish throat, and reddish wattles on the throat and neck. Snood is the fleshy long object over the male’s beak.
Male Eastern wild turkeys have a large, dark, fan-shaped tail and shiny bronze wings. The male is significantly larger than the female. The Male birds usually have a beard. The females are called hens. They have feathers which are duller in the shades of brown and gray. Eastern wild turkey is a very popular meal in Eastern Native American tribes.
State Game Bird of South Carolina Facts —
- Common name: Wild Turkey
- Scientific name: Meleagrisgallopavo
- Habitat: Orchards, pastures, fields, and seasonal marshes
- Songs and calls: “gobbles”, “clucks”, “putts”, “purrs”, “yelps”, “cutts”, “whines”, “cackles”, “kee-kees”
- Diet: acorns, nuts, hazel, chestnut, hickory, pinyon pine, seeds, berries, roots and insects
- Weight: 100–125 cm (male); 76 to 95 cm (female)
- Feathers: 5500
- Length: 5 to 11 kg (male); 2.5–5.4 kg (female)
- Wingspan: 1.25 to 1.44 m
- Incubation period: 28 days
South Carolina’s official game bird,The Eastern wild turkey is one of the most famous game birds in the United States. It is also one of the most challenging to hunt because it is very crafty and very timorous in nature. The Aztecs people had domesticated turkeys long before the Europeans lands on America. The Aztecs employed them as food, for religious sacrifices and the feathers for beautification. An adult wild turkey has roughly 5,500 feathers. This includes the eighteen tail feathers that the male birds have which looks like a fan.
The feathers are mostly shimmering. It gives the wild turkey its distinctive ‘shimmering sheen’. Wild turkeys have very strong legs. They are able to run very fast. A study shows that they can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Their flight speed is not shabby either. The top flight speed is 55 miles per hour. Domestic turkeys are bred to be healthier so they can provide more meat. As they are heavier they cannot fly, although they can run. Wild Turkeys are omnivorous and eats different foods. Grass and grain makes up most of its diet.
They also eat insects, berries and small reptiles. A wild turkey typically lives 3-5 years. They live longer too sometimes. The oldest known wild turkey lived to be 13 years old. Turkeys range from 5-20 pounds in the wild. A wild turkey’s call can be heard up to one mile away. It is the primary means for a tom to connect with his females. Adult male turkeys are called toms and females are called hens. Very young birds are poults, while juvenile males are jakes and juvenile females are jennies. A group of turkeys is called a flock or a rafter.
The wild turkey’s head and facial wattles can alter color in seconds with excitement or emotion. The heads can be red, pink, white or blue. The snood can also change color, size and shape. Wild turkeys see in color and have brilliant vision at daytime. It is three times better than a human’s eyesight. It covers almost 270 degrees. They have poor vision at night but they can become more cautious as it grows darker. Young turkeys leave the nest within 24 hours in search for food with the mothers. The male parent turkeys is not interested in raising the chicks. The wild turkey is the official game bird of Alabama, Massachusetts and South Carolina.
Though they may not be titled as official game birds in other states, wild turkeys are widely hunted. Wild turkeys are the most hunted of all birds in North America. The law designating the South Carolina wild turkey as the official South Carolina state wild game bird is Section SECTION 1-1-635 (Official State wild game bird.) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 1 (Administration of the Government) Chapter 1 (GENERAL PROVISIONS) Article 9 (STATE EMBLEMS, PLEDGE TO STATE FLAG, OFFICIAL OBSERVANCES ) Section 1-1-635