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Turkey Talk

Posted On: Nov 19, 2017   |   Posted By: Ornithology

Turkey Talk

The pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock at the end of 1620; by the fall of 1621, almost half of the 102 people who came over on the Mayflower had died, starvation being a major cause. In 1621 the harvest was good, so the surviving pilgrims celebrated by feasting with Wampanoag Indians who had been so helpful in the first year at Plymouth. The exact date of the feast is unknown, but it happened sometime between September 21 and November 11 - the first Thanksgiving.
We don't really know if the pilgrims and Indians ate Thanksgiving turkey, so how did the turkey become the symbol of the holiday? It seems the pilgrims called all wild fowl “turkey.” Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth colony sent men out to come back with fowl for the women to cook. We don't know what it was but they called it turkey, and roasted the birds for dinner. The Navajo first encountered the turkey as a pest, shooing it away from their crops. Only later did they decide that fencing them in instead of out would provide more food.
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