Wild turkey sightings in spring and fall always bring a smile to my face. The big gobblers are all puffed out, so focused on the incredibleness of their appearance that they don’t even scratch or eat. They just walk very slowly, concentrating on being fabulous. They make me laugh because they look like those big buff egomaniacs at the gym, walking around constantly flexed while the hens pretend to ignore them. Crack me up!!!!
Sometimes there are three or four of them with the puffy look going on. I think they’ll run into each other, they’re concentrating so hard on their strut. LOL! They just try so hard, it’s silly!
The gobblers that work the groups of ladies as a pair have a better chance of success than gobblers who try to hook up alone. The gobbler pairs are closely related to each other – the less dominant gobbler has a better chance if he works as the big turkey’s “wing man.” Other male turkeys in the group may also try to strut, but the dominant gobblers take him down quickly. When they’re ready to fight, their heads turn red! When they are a little excited, their head is blue and when they are very excited, their heads turn white!
The male turkeys generally weigh from 11 – 24 lbs, but 30 lb gobblers are not unheard of. Females range from 5 – 11 lbs. They are very large, but they can still fly if threatened. They roost in trees and usually fly very low to the ground. The mama turkey lays her eggs in a depression in the ground, surrounded by bushes. Many animals prey on the turkey’s eggs and poults (baby turkeys). Some of them include: raccoons, possums, skunks, birds of prey, snakes, coyote, foxes, bobcats and even Yogi, our dog. We are still finding feathers.
Turkeys eat grass, seeds, nuts, berries, insects and small lizards and snakes.
During the early 40s, wild turkey populations were very endangered. There were only about 30,000 wild turkeys left and some areas had no turkeys. Turkeys were trapped and relocated to reintroduce them and due to their ability to sustain in many locations, the population rebounded. Now turkey hunting is permitted in 49 states.
So, the next time you’re at the gym and you see a big turkey strutting, just chuckle and think, “Gobble, Gobble.”