Wild turkeys reestablished in Christian County, KY
I saw a little flock of wild turkeys a few weeks ago in northeastern Christian County (KY). They weren't frightened enough to fly away. Instead they trotted down the road in front of my car for at least two hundred yards and then ran across the field to a little creek which they followed into the woods. Every now and then, I could see their heads bobbing along through the tall grass.
Several days later, in the southeastern corner of the county, I surprised another little flock of turkeys on a remote rural road. It was a startling experience for me, too. The turkeys immediately took flight, rising into the air right in front of my car with a great flapping of wings. They didn't fly high -- they were hardly ten feet above the ground -- but they flew fast.
My third turkey sighting of the spring came about a week later. I was driving up the lane to our house, As I reached the top of the hill, where the woods end and the field begins, I saw a turkey with his feathers all spread out -- a tom, I assume. Three other turkeys were with him, and I assume they were females. They all flew into the woods as soon as they saw me. That is the second time I've seen turkeys near our house.
According to the Kentucky National Wild Turkey Federation website, a flock of 62 wild turkeys was released in Christian County in 1978. Thirty years later, they seem to be well-established -- at least, in some rural areas that I travel.
Still, the turkeys aren't as plentiful as they once were. In Perrin's history of Christian County, KY, he mentions the stories an old timer told of "enormous flocks of wild turkeys" in the area around Lafayette, in southwestern Christian County.
And in Muhlenberg County, Christian County's neighbor on the northeast, the big birds were so numerous that they were considered pests. People said that a corn crop was in danger of being eaten by turkeys from the day it was planted until the day it was harvested.
In 1845, an effort was made to kill as many turkeys and squirrels as possible within a 60-day-period. It was apparently quite successful; according to the old story, the farmers were able to raise good corn crops for many years thereafter. (Source: A History of Muhlenberg County (p. 100) by Otto Arthur Rothert. Published by J.P. Morton, 1913.)
I've heard some of our farmer neighbors talk about the quantity of grain that the turkeys consume in the fields. I am sure that it can be a problem. From my viewpoint as an interested observer, though, I'm glad the turkeys are back.
A Big Flock of Wild Turkeys
Wild Turkey Breaks Bus Window
Grass, Water, and Trees