Happy Thanksgiving! While our custom on the fourth Thursday of November is traditionally to trot out some thrilling turkey facts, this may be an auspicious time to ponder the remarkable fortune of Meleagris gallopavo, the Wild Turkey.

You might wonder why I would describe the bird being barbecued, baked, roasted, pan fried, and deep fried by millions of Americans possibly AT THIS VERY MOMENT as lucky. However, the turkey had it much tougher around the turn of the 20th century when the world’s wild turkey population was an estimated 30,000 birds. Our friends at Cool Green Science, the conservation blog of The Nature Conservancy puts the turkey’s trials in perspective:

Rampant poaching and habitat destruction offered little hope for the wild turkey’s future.

But today, 7 million turkeys trot, cluck and scratch around North America, occupying almost all suitable habitat and even expanding beyond their original range.

How conservationists (and turkeys) pulled this off should offer some lessons—and hope—for those of us facing conservation challenges today.

Whether you’re tucking into a typical turkey feast or a meal more considerate of our great American gobbler, take some time to read Matt Miller’s All Hail the Unendangered Wild Turkey: A Thanksgiving Reflection to see how conservation may offer hope for today’s threatened animals.

We are everywhere!

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.