Thriving with wildlife, Illinois is home to hundreds of species of animals. Everywhere you go, there will always be some type of wildlife near you. Land animals such as the wild turkey and the white-tailed deer can be found in the thick of Illinois’ forests. Also, there are many types of birds that you can see soaring through the sky, like the mallard duck. If you cast a line, you are likely to catch a fish such as a largemouth bass, channel catfish, or bluegill. Running, flying, or swimming, you can find land animals, birds, and fish living among their environment.
Throughout history, the wild turkey has been a very important bird. Native Americans hunted it for thousands of years. When the Europeans arrived to North America, they only domesticated two species of birds: the wild turkey and the muscovy duck. It is so special that Ben Franklin went to Congress to say that the wild turkey should be our national bird (“Wild” para. 1). Due to over hunting in the early 1900’s, the wild turkey was completely wiped out. In the 1940’s, they took wild turkeys from other countries to a location with a recovering habitat suitable for the wild turkey to survive. Today, they can be found in all of the contiguous United States plus Hawaii (“Wild” para. 2). Wild Turkeys have a very unique appearance. The male, called a tom, is a couple of pounds heavier than the female, called a hen. Only a tom strutts. Strutting is when a tom spreads his fan to show off for the hens. Also, every tom has a beard. The beard is a length of hair that grows from their chest. In a few cases, a female turkey can grow a beard, but it is very rare. The tom’s head is mainly red with a little blue and red while a hens head is a very bright blue, red, and white (“Wild” para. 3). Because the wild turkey needs a lot to survive, it needs a suitable habitat. Besides Alaska, the wild turkey can be found everywhere in the United States. It can even be found is some parts of Canada and Mexico. During the day, the wild turkey roams around through the forest or in fields. At night, they fly into a tree to sleep; in the tree, they are safe from predators (“Wild” para. 3). Mating season for the wild turkey begins in the spring. To find a mate, the hen lets out a yelp. If a tom is interested, he will let out a gobble; a gobble can be heard from a mile away. Then, they keep calling back and forth until they meet up. When they meet up, they mate (“Wild” para. 6). After the hen is pregnant, she can lay 4-17 eggs. When the eggs hatch, the hen feeds them for a couple of days. Baby turkeys, called poults, quickly learn how to walk and find food. The only thing that the hen does after this period is protect them. All of the poults stay near the hen until they can take care of themselves. The tom does nothing to help raise the poults (“Wild” para. 6).
The white-tailed deer has an abundance of physical features that help them thrive. In the summer, adults...