Thursday, May 25, 2023

Wild Turkeys

This weekend it was raining hard and I had to  avoid some local flooding, so my route home from church was a bit unfamiliar. I missed a turn about a mile from home and then pulled into the Grayledge Open Space parking lot to turn around. There we encountered a flock of turkeys-- about 4 or 5 long-bearded males, of which two were displaying. There also were over a dozen hens and possibly some young males (jakes) scattered around the tall grass and adjoining pasture. 

Turkeys establish a fairly stable dominance system, with males and females having separate pecking orders (Reference*).  Males and females form separate flocks which mix together only during the spring. In this flock the two most dominant males were displaying to each other, but it was clear that one enjoyed a higher status and the others yielded to him. 

My photos, taken with an iPhone, are of poor quality. Note the beard length and the symmetry of the dominant male's tail feathers :

I hoped to see the Bald Eagles again, but only the more common species were overhead--

Turkey Vulture:

Black Vulture:

Red-tailed Hawk with a bulging crop:

Red-shouldered Hawk:

The Eastern Bluebirds were feeding their young in the side yard nest box:

Arriving migrants included the Red-eyed Vireo...

...Great Crested Flycatcher...

...and Eastern Wood-Pewee:

A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on a slender stalk with the forest foliage in the background:

The sun was behind me. When he turned towards the camera the red reflection of his gorget was almost blinding:

Resident House Finches and a Mourning Dove share the Safflower seeds on the platform feeder:

I put out oranges in hopes of attracting orioles, but so far no luck. Only one or two chipmunks appear to have survived over the winter. We had over a dozen last autumn. The winter weather was hostile, with little snow but much rain with wide temperature swings.  Chipmunks hibernate intermittently but need to awaken periodically to eat stored food and eliminate body waste. This one even ate the orange peels:

In contrast, the Woodchuck (aka Groundhog or Whistle Pig) hibernates deeply in its secure deep burrow and emerges later in the spring. This one has a particularly black tail and prefers to brows on weeds along the edge of the lawn:

The family calls him "Fat Boy." Here he is caught on the security camera as he descends the garden steps just outside our front door:

Clematis is blooming:

The swimming pool is now open:

A colorful sunset:

The breeze picked up and produced a ghastly upside-down reflection suggesting it was the home of the "Addams" family:

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Wild Turkey Lifestyle and Breeding

Introduction to the Wild Turkey 

Why are they called "Turkeys?"

This week's header: Wild Turkey flock

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Linking to:

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Wild Bird Wednesday

My Corner of the World

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display


  1. Lovely photos. And you're attunment with nature. Produces a wonderful post. So many treasures here. Thank you!

  2. I think your phone takes better photos than what mine does! Lovely set of photos,I would love to see a Woodchuck, they look delightful creatures. Cheers Diane

  3. Always gorgeous set of bird photos and nature sceneries in your post.

  4. Beautiful photos. Love the turkey photos. Looks like it paid off taking the road less traveled!

  5. I have always regarded seeing wild turkeys, in the wild, as a good omen. I don't know why. They just make me happy. Such large birds they often appear out of nowhere.
    That swimming pool looks great!!

  6. Great series. WHat a glowing humming bird!

  7. Hi Ken, what a pity that you only had the iPhone for the turkeys. That was definitely a great experience. Your other photos are of course wonderful again and the hummingbird looks fantastic. I wish you a nice Pentecost and above all good weather and health anyway.
    Best regards - Elke (Nature Thursday)

  8. The turkey shots are great tho, if not for definition but for the attitude and behaviour captured. They're wonderful!! I love the gorget (never heard that before) shining in the sun. It's beautfiul. And the reflection shot is really great! Thanks for joining in #Allseasons

  9. The turkey shots are great tho, if not for definition but for the attitude and behaviour captured. They're wonderful!! I love the gorget (never heard that before) shining in the sun. It's beautfiul. And the reflection shot is really great! Thanks for joining in #Allseasons

  10. Hello,
    You lucked out making missing the turn, the displaying turkeys was a great sight to see. Love the Hawks in flight and your pretty Bluebirds. The Groundhog looks like it is eating well. Beautiful sky and a cool reflection photo. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  11. I was going to ask for an invitation to swim....until you showed the house in the reflection! How funny is that! Love that you got to see the turkeys when you needed a place to turn around. I love when that happens! You just never know what joys are there when you accept those wrong turns and go with the flow! Enjoy your weekend!

  12. Lovely to see the Turkeys displaying. Not something I've ever seen before. Great pictures too of the migrants. The Bluebird is a real stunner, but it's always hard for me to look beyond a Hummer when there is one. That Ruby Throated is just wonderful.

  13. Especially love the turkeys ❤

  14. Hello :=)
    A super encounter with the Turkeys and an impressive fan tail display. Lovely selection of other birds, gorgeous Humming bird capture with the sun lit gorget, aerial shots of the Red-shouldered Hawk, the Groundhog and Chipmunk.
    All the best..

  15. I see most of these birds everyday on my farm. When I don't see the turkeys I hear them :)

  16. That's a beautiful house and a great reflection!

  17. I love encountering turkeys! One trail I use a lot in the Green Swamp is close to a roosting spot and I hear them chattering when I'm there just at sunrise. Getting close enough for pictures - that's a different story!

    What a lovely collection of spring birds! That hummer portrait is wonderful.

    Hope your new week is off to a great start.

  18. ...I often see turkeys, but rarely if ever with their tails fanned out. Fabulous captures.

  19. What wonderful photos I enjoyed them all so clear vivid and colourful :-)

    Have a turkeytastic week 👍

  20. Replies
    1. Thank you, Hodja-- your comment sent me down a rabbit hole "Historians believe that the name originally belonged to a different bird entirely. The guinea fowl, which bears some resemblance to the wild turkey, was a bird native to Africa. Following domestication, these birds became a trade commodity, and European countries started to import guinea fowl for food. This trade route from Africa to Europe happened to cross through Turkey, and because the birds were imported through Turkey, some European countries started began to refer to guinea fowls as turkey fowls. So, when the Europeans traveled to the Americas and encountered a larger but similar looking bird, either through confusion or convenience, they decided to name the birds turkeys, starting a long history of puzzling etymology." MORE:,countries%20started%20to%20import%20guinea%20fowl%20for%20food.

  21. Wow ! I am blown away with the reflection of buliding in pool . Clematis are beautiful. Ruby throated hummingbird caught my attention. Thanks for sharing with Garden Affair.


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