With Thanksgiving in the air, let’s celebrate America’s wild turkey! This handsome game bird has defied all odds by thriving in places previously thought unsuitable for such a large and wary bird. Today, it frequents gardens, yards, suburbs, and rural areas.
LOOK for a tall, slender bird (36 inches for toms, 26 inches for hens) that appears black to brown-gray. A closer look reveals iridescent green, purple, blue, russet, and bronze feathers. Toms’ bare heads are usually pink; hens’ are blue-gray.
LISTEN for the soft putts and clucks of content turkeys. Turkeys yelp and cutt (cackle) to get each other’s attention. Toms gobble heartily in spring to summon potential mates.
OBSERVE turkeys’ pecking order as birds jockey for position and dominance while feeding.
THRILL to the display put on by a strutting gobbler as he fans his tail and puffs his chest. Strutting activity peaks in spring, but toms will display any time of year.
ATTRACT wild turkeys with ear or shell corn on the ground. In winter, build an elevated feeder to keep the corn accessible.