Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Wild turkeys with or without beards

Clean up crew

I was curious about our turkeys.

They have huge feet!
Its beard drags the ground.
Don't they trip on it?
They were cleaning the driveway for me and I grabbed a photo. Must be deer food spilled!

The males are different than the females. I didn't even notice until my friend, Susan, commented on it last winter!

As I began watching them I realized that they seemed to come in same-sex groups. Either bearded males or unbearded females. On adult males, these beards average about 22 cm (9") long,  but 10 to 20% of hens also grow beards. THAT confused me.

Then I began to wonder how they cleaned  it. The deer groom each other as well as themselves! This beard hangs down onto the ground. I wonder if they trip over it!


A male turkey grows a cluster of long, hairlike feathers from the center of its chest. This cluster is known as the turkey's beard.

The longest beard on record is more than 18 inches long.

Wild turkey legs are reddish-orange.
They have four toes on each foot.
Male wild turkeys grow large spurs on the backs of their lower legs. These spurs are pointed, bony spikes and are used for defense and to establish dominance.

Spurs can grow up to 5 cm (2") in length. The longest spurs on record are 5.5 cm (2.25") long.
This video of mine has their sounds on it!

Here they are ON TOP of the feeder, frantically trying to get in!

Here they are showing off their beards AND their feathers! Practicing for the ladies outside my back door! The cats were fascinated, less fearful of deer than turkeys...

More turkey info!


MyNorth said...

You have a lot of turkey's and both hens and toms.
We only see hens. I wonder if that's where the term 'hen party' came from? One thing for sure is they poop a lot!

Linda said...

You are a wealth of information! I had no idea turkeys were such complex creatures! I mean, they usually just appear in the grocery store...then on my table!

Thanks for the photos and the education today...delightful!

Kay said...

What fun to learn that male turkeys have beards too! Now that's something that most of us did not know.

Red said...

Never heard of turkey beards before! You learn something new every day. We don't have wild turkeys here.

Jenn Jilks said...

TONS of turkeys, MyNorth!
Hubby doesn't like turkey, Linda! Ironic...
I couldn't figure out how to find what they were, 'beards', Red. Try looking up dangly thing from turkey breasts! :-)
They are contributing to fertilizing the lawn!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Wild turkeys are among my favorite wild birds. They are such a surprise when I came upon them.