Talking turkey: Tennessee has witnessed bird's remarkable comeba - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Talking turkey: Tennessee has witnessed bird's remarkable comeback

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Contrary to popular legend, Benjamin Franklin never campaigned to have the wild turkey as the national symbol of the United States instead of the bald eagle.

The misconception can be traced in part to a letter Franklin wrote from France to his daughter in Philadelphia on Jan. 26, 1784, in which he praised the wild turkey as a “more respectable bird” than the bald eagle, and a “true original North American.”

It wasn’t long after Franklin’s time that turkeys began disappearing from the American landscape as a result of deforestation and unregulated hunting. By the early 1900s only about 30,000 wild turkeys survived across the U.S., and the species appeared headed toward extinction.

Read the full story at the Knoxville News Sentinel by clicking here.

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