While the wait for pigs to fly continues indefinitely, North Carolina’s camera trap program has managed to document another chunky creature taking flight.


With Thanksgiving fast approaching, a photo of an airborne wild turkey taken earlier this year in Orange County, North Carolina, is spreading like grandma’s pimento cheese.

North Carolina’s Candid Critters, a program that archives camera trap footage from all over the state, shared the rare picture on Facebook Sunday. The pic has garnered plenty of comments from people with their own experiences with gliding gobblers.

“You haven't lived until you are riding a horse down a wooded trail and an entire flock flies up into the trees,” on person wrote, while another user commented on how noisy turkeys are in the air.

North Carolina's Candid Critters Project

Given their girth, their ability to run at high rates of speed, and the fact that they nest on the ground, most people assume that turkeys can’t fly. But just because they live on the ground doesn’t mean they can’t fly. They can and they do—just not for long distances.  According to Live Science, they may be able to fly as fast as 55 miles per hour. But boy do they look silly.

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But don’t expect your backyard turkey to take wing. Domesticated turkeys are less likely to fly than their wild brethren because they’ve been bred to have larger breasts.  Large, muscular breasts (which are better for eating) inhibits the turkey’s flight. As Brian Palmer explained in The Washington Post, “The turkey breast gets stronger as it gets larger, but the animal’s power-to-mass ratio diminishes, so it can’t flap quickly enough to support sustained flight.”

So, there you have it folks!