Friday, March 24, 2006

A Big Flock of Wild Turkeys

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Birds and Animals...

Coming home from taking Isaac to school this morning, I saw a large flock of wild turkeys browsing in a farmer's field just above the river. It was the largest flock of wild turkeys I've ever seen. I estimate that it had 30-35 birds in it. I couldn't even get them all in the photo. It was a thrill to see them.

I turned around, came back down the opposite lane, turned around again, and pulled over to the shoulder of the highway to take some photos. When I stopped the car, the birds became alert, and when I got out and began to photograph them, they started slowly moving into the weeds and brush along the river. Within a few moments, the entire flock had left the field.

A big tom had his feathers all fluffed out. He was in full strut when I first saw them, and he was still that way when I drove off. I don't know for sure that all the rest of the flock were hens, but I think it's very likely.

Turkeys were re-introduced to this area about 25 years ago, I think. We never saw them when we first moved here. Then, we started seeing two or three here and there, once in a very great while. In the last year or two, we have seen a few along our little road that runs 1/4 mile up a hill at the edge of a woods. I think they roost in the trees there.

Some of the farmers have told me that the turkeys are populous enough now in this part of the county to do real damage to a field of grain. I don't doubt that.

Ruffled grouse were once native here in large numbers, just like the wild turkeys used to be. I would be pleased if the grouse could be re-introduced too.

The webpage of the Kentucky National Wild Turkey Federation contains a brief history of wild turkey in Land Between the Lakes, about 50 miles west of here. It's a long page, but search for the name "Shelley Nickell". During the early 1900's, he managed to conserve a handful of this area's last native wild turkeys.


Neurotic Mom said...

It is nice to see wild flocks but they sure do a lot of damage to the fields.
You sure are great with the pictures and topics.

Genevieve said...

I don't go anywhere without my camera. I packed around my 35mm camera for years. Now I carry the digital camera. It fits in my purse or coat pocket which is great.

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