Wednesday, 20 November 2013

It's turkey time again!

a close-up from last winter
Yes, US Thanksgiving approaches, our Canadian Thanksgiving is done.

They are bravely marching across our back yard! I haven't seen them much all summer, with fruits and berries plentiful in the forest.
The close-ups show their faces.

I went to National Geographic to find out some information. (I don't trust Wiki!)

They forage everywhere. Across our lawn, grasslands, and in our swamp, eating nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, and salamanders and are omnivores.

They are huge. All of our city visitors are shocked. National Geographic compares the size in Imperial and metric.
Body, 3.6 to 3.8 ft (1.1 to 1.2 m); wingspan, 4.1 to 4.8 ft (1.3 to 1.4 m)

What a face!
They move about our forest in flocks, with a great sense of what is around them. We have coyotes and a wolf in our forest. When I try to go outdoors and grab a photo, they fly off. Wild turkeys fly, domesticated ones do not.

Once extirpated, they have been reintroduced from US stock: I wrote about that previously (Wild turkeys in Ontario). They were victims of excessive hunting and woodland habitat loss.

Ontario stats: 
  • 24,000 in 1999
  • 55,000 in 2004 with a 129% increase in population from an Eastern subspecies.
  • 80,000 in 2010
The males have those wonderful mating displays in spring mating time, which I captured one season in a YouTube video. They were right out my back door, and I grabbed my videocam.

my YouTube video
The cats like to chase them, despite being much smaller. Someone on Facebook's Canadian birdwatching page suggested I should not speak of this, with bird lovers posting, however, I think it good to keep them on their toes. There are many predators in the forest, and they shouldn't feel too safe on our lawn, which is open and in eagle, and other raptor, territory! Even the cats run across the lawn to shelter when coming back to the house.

Good little bug eaters!
I saw a large group feeding under the bird feeder in the snow one winter. An eagle flew overhead, and suddenly the entire flock (about 30 birds) stood up at attention, eyeing the sky.

They crossed at the bear crossing sign.


Bill Nicholls said...

Your own privae Turkey farm just copme to you. Thanks giving and Christmas dinner just walks over your lawn

TexWisGirl said...

i'd love to see wild turkeys here. :)

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, they are big, aren't they?
I don't believe I've ever seen a wild turkey.
There was a beautiful buck Mule Deer in our yard this morning, but Dick frightened it off when he yelled "Deer at window!" although he insists he didn't yell. Anyway, I looked out in time to see its backside disappearing up the street, so something scared it, but whether Dick or not, we'll never know.
Luv, K

Red said...

Impressive birds. You don't want to mess with them. I don't think the eagle would mess with them. Coyotes may take them on.

Kay said...

Gracious! Now that the coast is clear up north, our U.S. turkeys must have migrated to Canada.