Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Turkeys

Turkeys were infrequent visitors to the feeders through the winter. During the past couple of weeks, a small group has been coming in every day. The older males have not yet begun courtship activities in earnest. In another week of two they’ll be too busy displaying to stop and eat.

The colors of the turkey are at their best right now. The turkey molts all feathers except those that make up the beard. The beard continues to grow throughout the turkey’s life. It could grow to be much longer if the bird didn’t continually step on the end while feeding. Constant trampling keeps the end of the beard neatly trimmed.

The deer destroyed this area during the winter and now the turkeys are smoothing it back out. Turkeys instinctively scratch the ground to uncover food. Even if food is clearly abundant on the surface, the turkey will periodically scratch. Scratching doesn’t hurt my yard, but large turkey flocks have been known to do some serious damage to leaf litter in the woods.

This group is composed of males from one to three years old. If they follow the same pattern as past years, the older males will soon drive the younger out of the group and claim the yard as a display area.

We had new windows put in recently and while they are a massive improvement over the 30 year old windows, they do cause a bit of distortion when trying to photograph through them. I really can’t complain. The old windows were steamed up all winter and when they were clear, the image you saw was like that of an amusement park mirror.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever thought of Turkeys as "pretty" before, but that first shot of the fellow made me think just that. We see turkeys here all the time, but rarely that close up.