25 Things You Didn't Know About Turkeys

Turkey is one of those foods that's comparable to vanilla: It doesn't get much respect, tends to be synonymous with "plain," and is eaten every so often but never really beloved. But there's a lot more to the story of this underappreciated bird than meets the eye, and we tracked down 25 interesting facts about the turkey that you might not know.

25 Things You Didn't Know About Turkeys (Slideshow)

Every Thanksgiving, tens of millions of turkeys find their way onto dinner plates in homes and restaurants throughout the country, and are often presented as the showpiece of the Thanksgiving celebration. Just about everyone has a recipe they swear by, whether it involves frying, brining, basting, spatchcocking, or shoving a pound of butter under the skin.

Some turkeys emerge juicy and golden brown, others wan, dry, and tough. But at the end of the day, the consistency of the turkey doesn't even really matter. Thanksgiving is about gathering around the table with family and loved ones and enjoying a big meal, one another's company, and (sure, why not) the bounty of the harvest. But turkey plays a crucial role in it all.

Turkeys actually deserve a lot more credit than they get. They're known to be social, intelligent animals with distinct and unique personality traits, and they form lifelong bonds with one another. There are actually turkey sanctuaries all over where rescued turkeys are taken care of, and you can even adopt one for $30, and will receive a certificate and photo or your new turkey friend.

Read on to learn 25 things about turkeys that you might not have already known. And this Thanksgiving, when your bird emerges from the oven, shiny and golden, take a moment to remember that Thanksgiving is also about celebrating this noble, humble bird.