Thursday, 19 February 2015

A rafter of turkey tales

I glanced out the back window, and spotted the turkeys huddling together for warmth. The leader would pop up his head and the others hunkered down in the -20 C. weather. Then peek and hunker down!

They are fascinating critters, with heads lacking feathers. They are huge. I cannot get close to them, as they fly away quite quickly. Yes, wild turkeys fly very well. You can see the wingspan of the one on the fence.
Their tracks are huge, as big as my boot. They can be 35" tall!

I did some research on their reintroduction into Ontario, helped by our American friends.
For this reason, I am hopeful other species, like the Monarch Butterfly, will bounce back from low populations, to a more normal high.
Turkeys were extirpated from the region, until hunters began lobbying to reintroduce them. This was quite successful. My backyard can attest to this. Last year we seemed to have 4 or 5 separate rafters, which would visit the bird feeders, and take off again.
  • within Ontario MNR has contributed to the growth of Ontario’s wild turkey population. In total, 4,400 birds.
  • Wild turkey restoration efforts began in 1984, and by 1987 a total of 274 birds were transferred into Ontario from 6 U.S. states. 
  • Active trap and transfer were trapped and released at 275 sites in Ontario between 1984 and March 2004 (Malhiot, 2005)
  • The spring hunting season was introduced by 1987, with a fall season in 2008.
Ontario stats: 
  • 24,000 in 1999
  • 55,000 in 2004 with a 129% increase in population from an Eastern subspecies.
  • 80,000 in 2010
  • Estimated 100,000 eastern wild turkeys in Ontario 2013 (Canadian Geographic)
  • 13,000 concentrated in the Ottawa area.


eileeninmd said...

How cool to see the turkeys huddling together..Awesome shots of your turkey visitors.. Stay warm and have a happy day!

Powell River Books said...

That is an amazing photo opportunity to have them clustered to stay warm. - Margy

William Kendall said...

Excellent shots of them. They're ungainly birds, but I like them.

Anonymous said...

Cute turkey shots.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Great photos.

I too hope the monarchs can bounce back, Many species of British butterflies have been doing much better in the past couple of years after declining badly for several years before that.

Hilary said...

Great photos, Jenn. And you've solved a mystery for me. Last winter.. early on in the season but late enough that the lake was freezing over, I saw what I thought was Great blue heron tracks in the snow, down the road from my place. I didn't think the herons would have hung around after near-freeze over but truly thought it was their tracks. Now I realize that it must have been wild turkey. I've never actually seen the birds around here though I've always heard that they tend to hang around deer. We have plenty of them but not the turkeys. At least not of the non-human kind. ;)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Good research -- we have a lot of them around where we stay in Oregon -- they are doing real well there.

Red said...

With the size and behavior they're a pretty interesting bird. We don't have them here but they're not far away...south of Calgary.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Different and delightful critters you offer us today Jenn!

It is always good to hear of native species being brought back from 'the brink'...I note here in UK, though, that it comes with some opposition in places - badgers for example are a very contentious success story and the reintroduction of beavers is not favoured by every one. Farmers. Most of them appear to have forgotten how to live with the land, not just on and from it...

LOVE your taking flight shot... YAM xx

".E." Lizard Breath Speaks, It's Beth said...

very cool. you have lots of wildlife going on. love it! ( :