Wild Turkeys are Booming

Wild Turkeys have been very successfully reintroduced into Massachusetts – and else where. They are now well established and can be found the full length of the Commonwealth; from Provincetown to the Berkshires. The females (above and below) have no beard and are not as colorful in the face as are the males.
Females have a rather passive role in the spring. They observe and then choose (?) from the males who have largely ignored them as they flash, strut, and compete with other males.
Males have a beard and the unfeathered facial skin becomes very colorful as breeding season approaches. The feathers are iridescent and the boys make very effort to show them off. Small groups of males stay together seemingly competing among themselves for breeding dominance. This is what they are doing, but it seems a little more time with the ladies might be beneficial.
Facial color, shiny feathers, and a large complete tail make for a handsome male.
The females will nest on the ground but both sexes will roost in trees – though females will often incubate through the night on the ground.
Eventually the hens create clutches of eggs (usually about 12 eggs), incubate for about 4 weeks, and hatch the young. Groups of hens with young will form and the occasional cluster of males may join in with them. But generally it is the females that watch over the youngsters. Predators include (depending on the size of the poults) cats, dogs, foxes, coyotes. and probably some birds of prey. The eggs are consumed by medium sized mammals like raccoons, opossums, and foxes. As they grow in size they become more and more able to take care of themselves.

One thought on “Wild Turkeys are Booming

  1. I had two Turkeys digging a couple of pits in my lawn the other day. I moved them along where they joined the rest of the group of 13 across the street.

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