Thanksgiving pays homage to icon, the turkey

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Photo by Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

National Turkey Federation Chairman Richard Huisinga presents "Liberty" to President Barack Obama to pardon in the North Portico of the White House in Washington, D.C. for the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony on November 23, 2011. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

By Kalani Ruidas, Features co-editor

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. The holidays are a time of charity, giving, family, friends and, of course, food. Let’s give thanks for the bird that supplies the feast–the turkey. Here are a few facts to share while sitting around the table for Thanksgiving.

1. Forty-five million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving, twenty-two million turkeys are eaten each Christmas and nineteen million turkeys are eaten each Easter.

2. 88% of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.

3. It is a misconception that the consumption of turkey makes one drowsy. Rather, it’s more likely the carbohydrate-rich meals that increases the number of tryptophans in the brain.

4. Turkey is listed among the top 10 foods that benefit eyesight because of its richness in zinc.

5. The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.

6. Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.

7. The largest turkey recorded was in 1989. “Tyson” weighed 86 lbs. and was sold for $6,692. The proceeds were given to charity.

8. June is National Turkey Lovers’ Month.

9. It is not true that turkeys will drown if they look up at the sky when it rains. This myth is disproved by scientist, Tom Savage, professor of animal science at Oregon State University. He found that there is an inherited condition in turkeys, called tetanic torticollar spasms. It causes turkeys to exhibit abnormal behaviors, such as looking at the sky for 30 seconds or more at a time.

10. When a turkey and a chicken are bred, it results in the birth of a bird called either a churkey or turken. It has the neck of a turkey and the body of a chicken.

The staff of Ka Leo O Nā Koa wishes their readers a safe, relaxing and happy Thanksgiving.