SPRING, 2007 TURKEY WATCHING
We've had a flock of about 25 turkeys in our yard all day, every day, this spring. Here are some of the hilight pictures I've taken of them.
The neck wattles on the toms gets a brilliant deep red. They can't seem to sustain it, though, and after awhile the bright red starts fading to pink, then to white.
The toms put on quite a show for the hens. Their heads turn blue. Their neck wattles turn bright red. They grow a big flap of skin that hangs down over their beak. They fan their tail out. They puff out all their feathers and drag their wing feathers on the ground. When they do all this, it makes them twice as big as when they started. Then they strut around in front of the females. They do little interaction with each other, though, although I did seem them once get into a big squabble with each other, with lots of angry gobbling. The red wattles on this guy have started to fade a bit.
Here are 4 toms strutting their stuff for the group of hens.
This clever (and hungry) hen figured out how to land on top of the bird feeder and stick her neck down into the tray and get sunflower seeds. The turkeys greatly prefer sunflower seeds over cracked corn, but the sunflower seeds cost a lot more, so we put out mostly cracked corn. I now also usually put some sunflower seeds around on the ground, too.
I thought these were immature males. Their heads and necks remain red, and I haven't seen them do any of the puffing and strutting that the more mature males do. Their neck wattles are small, and no big skin flap over the beak. These 2 guys hang out together and gobble a lot, usually in unison, as they are doing here. They're probably saying "Hey, how come I'm not getting any action?". It later turned out that these are the same males that were all puffed out. I thought perhaps mating season was over, but then the next day, I saw these same males puffed up again, impressing some females.
It's SO fascinating to watch these unusual animals, especially during the spring mating season.
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