6/1 Done

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Male turkeys don’t gobble all the time. Sometime around now they pack it in for the season, and spend the summer relaxing in the shade. I learned this, and many other fascinating turkey facts from a forest friend who’s also a hunter. Though I did notice big Tom’s gobbling was becoming less frequent, and he wasn’t hanging out by the trail anymore, I didn’t know his looks were changing too.

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This was Tom a few weeks ago. While gobbling, he would stand in a sunny patch to ensure his blood-engorged wattle grabbed the attention of any passing hen. His wild eyed look confirmed his state of mind – he was high on testosterone. As with male deer during the rut, there was no rest to be had while unbred females were out there.

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So what a surprise to spot him yesterday way up on a dead limb, obviously in a mellower mood than the last time we met. And that bright red wattle gone all flabby and pale! I might have wondered if he was indeed the same bird, were it not for his long beard and pleasantly plump chest. Looking for an explanation, I found this in Roger Latham’s Complete Book of the Wild Turkey.

“The color of a tom’s head and neck change, from a vibrant red (caruncles), white, (crown of the head) and blue (neck and side of face) during the breeding season, to a more subdued red and blue for the rest of the year.”

After a busy spring of beating up on the younger jake turkeys, and mating with all the hens in this forest, he certainly deserves his rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “6/1 Done

  1. Ann Rosa

    Your posts are always so interesting and informative. I usually see several turkeys in our yard every year but this year I’ve only spotted one small flock moving thru the forest.

    Keep up the good work!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres

    A friend and I just were talking about the fact that the mockingbirds, cardinals, and doves seem to be done with their singing and cooing for the spring. Maybe there’s a whole lot of exhaustion out there — especially given the number of fledglings I’ve seen!

    Liked by 1 person

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