Wild turkeys like to live wherever food is plentiful and the habitat inviting. That includes Frick Park in Pittsburgh. On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy led a family hike into the woods there to look for turkeys and practice calling for them.
The kids learned from naturalist educator Amber Stacey what wild turkeys like to eat and how they like to eat.
“So who remembers how a turkey finds their food?” Stacey asks. “They scratch to the ground. And move the leaves to the side to look for food.”
LISTEN: “Kids Gobble Up Turkey Facts at Frick Park”
Five-year old Emily Swartz foraged for foods turkeys would be excited about, like snails and roly-polies. And three-year-old Louisa Greer happily gobble-gobbled while she scratched at the leaves and flapped her wings. “Turkeys can fly!” she was thrilled to learn.
For some kids, like 7-year-old Reggie Kubis, all the outdoor foraging was enough to rethink this whole being a human business. “I wish I was a turkey,” mulled Kubis. “Because I think it’s really fun to find food and it’s just randomly there instead of going to buy it in the market!”
Back inside, kids matched feathers – turkeys have three types – and got to test whether they were strong enough to pick up an adult male turkey, weighing in at about 22 pounds. Naturalist educator June Reed explained turkeys lose some of their weight when they are cooked, but it was still good practice for carrying the bird from the oven to the table.
So whether you are acquiring your Thanksgiving feast in a forest – using your feet–or at the market, Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Allegheny Front.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy hosts lots of kids’ events throughout the year, including their new Nature Playdates at the Frick Environmental Center. Check their calendar for updates.