Saturday, December 24, 2011

Turkey Hens

The Wild Turkey hens have been slowly aggregating into larger flocks.  Flock size is nowhere near what it will be in late winter, but I’m sure it will be impressive when all of the smaller flocks finally get together.  Regardless of flock size, the feeder area is a standard gathering area for the turkeys.

The lawn seems to be a greater attraction than the handful of grain they can glean from the feeder.  The non-native lawn grasses stay green well into winter and continue to grow as long as the ground remains unfrozen.  At this time of year, the lawn is the largest concentration of green leaves at Blue Jay Barrens.

The flock will typically spend an hour or more roaming the yard and picking blades of grass.  With groundskeepers like these, you don’t have to worry about your lawn looking raggedy during the winter.

The turkeys cycle between grazing and searching for cracked corn chips.  When the flock gets larger, the dominant hens will monopolize the corn area and the rest of the birds will have the yard.  There are some subordinate members of the flock that don’t even try for corn.  They immediately head for the lawn and spend their entire stay eating grass.

There are two bearded hens this winter.  This is the younger.  I’ve seen the older guarding chicks for the last three seasons.  This may be one of her young.

There must be a little bit of hunting dog in this hen.  She seems to have gone to point.

This hen seems embarrassed to be caught preening.  I guess I should have made it clear that the photo shoot was not over.  The turkeys are always a lot of fun to watch.

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