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Whoa! A Turkey Trek!!

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The 5 turkeys which regularly visit my feeder are males, and young males in their first year if my reading is correct. But I'm not always sure they're the same 5 - I've seen some variation in snoods, which is about the only feature I can reliably use to try to distinguish them. And I know that cocks and hens break up into gender-specific groups for the winter. So I've had two questions:

1. How many turkeys do we really have around here?
2. Where are the hens?

Today, I guess both questions were answered. A little before 9 AM, I heard an odd call being repeated; I decided it was probably one or more turkeys, although I couldn't see any. A few minutes later, they started appearing, coming in from the right - and kept coming!

As it happens, my camera was in the other room; by the time I got it, this was the best I could do for a picture. They didn't linger at the feeder; a few investigated it, but most went right by, and the troupe continued on into the woods. There are 15 turkeys in this picture, and close examination indicates they're all hens - not a beard or snood among them. And there were a few more straggling through the woods verge. As they were leaving, I got a hard count of 19, but a few had probably already slipped out of sight.

So how many turkeys do we have? A lot!

This is the third day with temperatures above freezing - although not by much - and we had rain all night. I speculate that this is exposing food, and all the wildlife is on the move feeding. This seems to be confirmed by the 5 males which showed up at my feeder an hour or so later, but didn't spend a lot of time there (they didn't clean out the ground feeder for a change), then retired to the woods and foraged within sight for some time. Also, my neighbor saw two deer out back this morning, and I just saw a lone doe wandering through the woods a few minutes ago.
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dondi

Well, I suspect that being in my office most of the day is a big contributor. All this happened in about 10 minutes. If I'd been making coffee, or out on the front porch, or in the garage, or chatting with the neighbor, I could have missed the entire thing and never have known about it. It's possible grand things are happening all around us, but we're simply not there to see them! e.g. My neighbors saw 3 deer walk across my yard at 9:30 AM one day; I wasn't in the office at the time, and I'd never have known about it if they hadn't mentioned it.

roerick3

Wow, you are lucky these haven't been raiding your feeders all winter. That's quite a passel of turkeys.

robryan

They're doing the Turkey Trot dondi:))) That's impressive!!!

dondi

Yeah! Good thing this batch hasn't been raiding my feeder - no way I could have kept them in food. But I wonder if it wasn't something else as well - I wonder if they weren't on a "declarative tour"? With mating season approaching in March and April, and the males beginning to develop for that, perhaps they were covering the nearby territory to remind the males they're here, and perhaps scope out potential nesting places. The call I heard is very like the "yelp" a hen makes to attract a male during the mating season. After all, if they were foraging, why did they ignore my feeder, and the corn and seed scattered about?

pumpkinhead

Holy turkey!!! You have yourself a passel of 'em!

smllpkg101

That's a lot, all right!

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