Wild Turkey Adventures

First Turkey Info, Then Turkey Funnies

The wild turkey is a ground dwelling bird that is often seen at the farm, like those at the farm above. But it is not easy to get close enough to photograph them. They are very wary of hunters, even ones with a camera.

A male gobbles in spring time to attract a mate, fanning out his tail, strutting and dragging his wing tips on the ground. The male gobble is so loud, it has been reported to be heard a mile away. Males will look for multiple mates. Here, the LA Times Sports image has multiple males looking at one female. She looks to be in some trouble, that or she gets to pick to best one. Not sure. I really know nothing about turkey courtship. Turkey roasting and basting, yes.

The female will lay between 8 and 15 eggs, in a shallow depression for the nest, which is hidden by brush, vines or twigs. I have seen them in the field. They are buff colored eggs.

Incubated for maybe 25 to 30 days, the young poults are down covered little cuties who can start feeding themselves shortly after birth. Male poults stay with mom through fall and the females until spring. I have seen the babies with mom in the field just like this really good image from here. See the bigger image and others by Harold Stiver by clicking the link I provided above.

If I had my camera, I could have gotten some great shots of momma and her poults. But you all know how that goes.

Why they are at the farm is because there is prime habitat. They prefer mixed conifer and deciduous forest with open fields, orchards and marches. All of this is available at the farm for them. Since they eat nuts, fruits, insects, seeds and even salamanders, the food supply is plentiful at the farm as well. They are ground dwelling and feeding, but they roost in trees at night. I have seen them fly a short ways. It is hard to believe they can get off the ground at all. I have read they can reach short burst of flight at 55 mph; that would be a sight.

The farm had an annual turkey calling competition for kids though adults. If I can get any photos or audio of human gobbles I will post it. It is interesting.

So why post about wild turkeys when table turkeys are so near? Well, I have a funny story about them, one that should have made this one a dinner turkey.

Funny Turkey Story

When at the Buffalo Zoo, I like to go into the petting zoo with all the kids. I like all the animals to come around nudging me for food. I was with my husband one day and he followed me into the petting pen after I attracted the animals.

This one big Tom turkey was following me intently. I thought nothing of it when all of a sudden, he turned and attacked my husband. Pecking at him all the way out of the enclose. Then the Tom came back to my side. Of course, I am laughing my head off.

My husband foolishly entered again. The Tom eyed him and quickly turned and rammed chest first into him, knocking him backwards onto his butt. But now the husband was not near the door, and was getting pecked and clawed lying in the dirt. Clouds of dirt flying in the air with my husband in the middle of the ruckus. The turkey beating his wings, chased him all over the pen, and finally cornering him, still was pecking and clawing away. Kids are screaming and running for the exit. Pygmy goats and donkeys are darting about. All heck broke loose.

The animal keeper comes frantically running to save my husband and calm the upset animals. The keeper said the friendly turkey never reacted this way to anyone before and it was an isolated incident, actually twice, since he did not witness the first chasing out of the pen.

The keeper was so apologetic, and had to close the pen since it was a big dusty mess and isolate the turkey. That is why I had no pictures of the turkey, but here is a swan from that day.  Just a note, swans don’t like him either. Now my husband is afraid of and hates turkeys. Can you blame him?

Maybe that is why turkey became so beloved for Thanksgiving dinner, some pilgrim named Butterball just had enough of these birds and got a great idea. I wonder why we don’t eat swans? Too pretty?

 

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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32 Responses to Wild Turkey Adventures

  1. Janet says:

    Cute posting. We have lots of wild turkey around my house. They are lots of fun to see. I know what you mean about having difficulty in photographing them….very camera shy.

    • The turkeys quickly hide in the brush, almost before you can even focus. Today my friend told me they saw 60 + turkeys yesterday. I am making an effort to always have my camera with me at the farm. I have been there each day this week and will be until Christmas is over. I help out making garland and wreaths for my friend’s Christmas Tree business. I will get loads of photos of the kids visiting Santa and the animals. Fun times.

  2. lifeshighway says:

    Swans can be very aggressive too. And don’t get me started on geese. Too funny about your husband. Obviously, the Tom thought your hubby was a threat to his harem. hmmmm

  3. I think swans are protected federally. They’re certainly off limits in the U.K.

  4. One says:

    Interesting story and like the turkey joke. Wonder if your hubby eat a lot of turkey.

  5. Andrea says:

    Turkeys could be an introduced species here, we dont have them in the wild, we only have wild chicken which is now already lost due to lost habitat and population intrusion. That white turkey with black legs and beak is so beautiful. Serendipity, i also posted a fun page for chicken today, my first for chicken and not plants.

  6. VP says:

    I’ve been attacked by geese – I guess your husband shouldn’t go near them either 😉

    Hope you had a good Thanksgiving and thanks for your Blooms Day visit 🙂

  7. I feel sorry for your husband, being beaten up by a turkey with the hots for his wife! I think you should have been allowed to take him home and eat him! (The turkey, not the husband…). Thank you for making me smile on a dull grey November day!

  8. Marguerite says:

    Your poor husband, I have a sister who has the same experience with various fowl. As a kid she got bitten and chased by geese constantly at our grandparents farm. Years later, she’s terrified of them still.

  9. Jean says:

    I would be afraid, too, if I had your husband’s experience. Barbara Kingsolver has a story in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about one of the turkey hens coming on to her husband. A couple of years ago, I woke up on Thanksgiving morning to find 30 wild turkeys in the front yard — rather brave of them, I thought!

  10. patty says:

    Sorry about your husband (she wrote with a smile). My few experiences with geese is they like you when you have corn for them in your pockets. Funny story-ies.

  11. PatioPatch says:

    Dear Donna – how lucky you are to have wild turkey roaming your grounds. Does hubby have to stay indoors in the mating season? Could picture your funny story so well with the usually sedate petting zoo in uproar. Have to say male swans and geese often ‘front up’ my husband -he’s even been pecked by a small, bold drake- must be all that testosterone 😉

    Laura
    p.s. Here only royalty can eat swans

    • I am glad you answered the swan dinner question. They are roughly the same size bird and are farm raised for sale to estates, but I never thought about eating them until I posted the swan’s picture.

      I was so embarrassed after the kids got scared. It was quite a scene.

  12. Edith Hope says:

    Dear Donna, This is certainly a cautionary tale for those of a nervous disposition concerning Turkeys. I should have been most alarmed to have been attacked by a Turkey and am always wary of Geese for much the same reason. They are such big and powerful birds and really do attack with vengeance. Roasted and served with all the trimmings…….yes, that is how I like them best I am afraid to say!!

    And, thank you so much for adding my weblog to your list of ‘Favourites’. I am thrilled and shall look forward to following your fun and informative postings.

    • Yes roasted they are great. I have a fresh turkey ready for the oven on Thursday. I thank you too for adding me to your list of Faves. I often visit your posts, but I will leave more comments from now on. I do know you answer them, too. Your blog gets sooo many comments.

  13. That turkey sure fancied you Donna – your poor husband must have had some nightmares after that day trip. It must be lovely to see wild turkeys in your locality – my uncle rears the fancy ones – black and white with the fans of feathers at the back and I certainly would not like one of those to charge at me. I’m sure the kids that saw that attack must have been traumatised aswell. He also has geese and I am scared of those. I’ve been on the other side of the barn door and they have been hissing at me and I’m glad he doesn’t having them roaming as guards around his property. Once I went to feed the swans and ended up running back to the car as they decided to turn on me as I wasn’t giving them enough bread – I think I’ll stick with mallard ducks they are much more amicable.

    • I never saw a black and white turkey. You should post photos on your blog. My grandfather had swans, pheasants, peacocks, ducks and geese on his estate. I remember them as a kid. I only ever liked the ducks. They were very polite.

  14. Karen says:

    Your husband’s experience with the turkey is HILARIOUS…well, for us, not for him, I’m sure! Actually, I’m glad he didn’t get hurt, those silly birds are huge. The whole scene played out like a mini-horror movie, complete with children screaming in terror. Too bad you didn’t capture it on video!

  15. I know. I never think to take the video camera to the zoo. Good idea. Maybe I can send him in for a reenactment. 😀

  16. debsgarden says:

    Thanks for a good laugh! Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. fer says:

    Very funny story. I had no idea turkeys could be so dangerous.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. Thank you so much for the laughs. The story about your poor husband was hilarious. Tom liked you he did.~~Dee

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