Friday, October 8, 2010

Meleagris gallopavo

I took this photo through our kitchen window shortly after eating breakfast a few weeks ago. Our dog Parker had been barking and huffing and jumping onto and off of the window seat right behind where I sit in the mornings, and after a few minutes of this annoying behavior, I got up to see what he was so exercised about. (Usually, it's boring -- typically just a squirrel trespassing on our lawn.)

But that day it turned out to be a group of a dozen or more wild turkeys -- might it be called a "flock"? -- who'd walked, in their stately, semi-dinosaurian way out of the woods and across our driveway.

I see a lot of these birds in our area, and I've always liked the way they look. The dark sheen of their plumage can give them an almost reptilian aspect, and sometimes they do remind me of miniature T-Rex's in the way they stalk through the underbrush.

And they do fly, as well -- I remember a few years back riding my motorcycle on back roads up near Rowe, MA, and one of these large birds exploded out of the woods on the right side of the road and almost collided with me. It's kind of scary when something with that large a wing span is suddenly heading right at you. Fortunately, that turkey was able to "grab air" quickly and soared over me and the Gold Wing.

One of these days I hope to see a group of wild turkeys when I've got my camera ready and I can get some nice closeup shots with the zoom lens. Until then, I'll have to be satisfied with this one, which is probably the best turkey shot -- or is that shoot? -- of mine to date. -- PL


Jeff M said...

I can see the reptilian likeness for sure. Add some scales and teeth.. and its completely dinosaur.

mikeandraph87 said...

Hmm...pterodacyl's cousin a turkey? Interesting thought. The reptilian aspect dosn't show until suggested,but I can definietely see it now.

I'll get probably two turkey sightings a year in my area. Then again I'm in a city neighborhood while they are uncommon are much more to see in the county.

Next time maybe you can litterally shoot a turkey since Thanksgiving is coming up!

Stephan @ The Turtle Van said...

I was curious, so i looked it up. A group of Turkeys is called a "Rafter".

So that is a rafter of wild turkeys :-P

From Mary's Pen said...


My husband would be terribly jealous of your lovely flock. He's an avid turkey hunter.

Despite their apparent arrogance invading your yard, turkeys are incredibly elusive birds, quite difficult to sneak up on. They are the ninjas of the bird world.

I assume you know that Benjamin Franklin wanted to name the turkey as our national bird? He recognized their cunning, intelligence and adaptability as a proper symbol for America's spirit.

Unfortunately for the turkey, the eagle's good looks won it the spot. Such is life, I suppose.

Next time you see your birds, look for a long bundle of hairs poking out of the chest. It's called a "beard". The hens don't normally have them but occasionally you'll see a "bearded hen".

In general, the length of the beard indicates the age of the bird. Older males will have longer beards, and "jakes" under a year old will have a stubby little tuft.

Incidentally, the young hens are called "jennys".

Rejoicing in the day,

Tyr Germanic said...

thats so crazy about the turkey flying at you.on a motorcycle-he couldve killed you.

some people say dinosaurs may have had feathers.
i always thought it was dumb how people just assume the way their skin looked is the classic dinosaur look. nobody ever saw one alive.or its skin.
when are they going to clone that wooly mammoth already?ya that was off topic.