Turkey talk overheard on Summit Drive recently: “Get your own street, Thelma! I’m working the toms up here.” Photo by Phil Anderson
It’s turkey time in Big Canoe
Like Liberty Mutual's Emu (LiMu EMU), a turkey was pecking the roadside mirror as captured by Phil Anderson during his walk Monday, Sept. 30 along Summit Drive.
“I can't believe how close I was able to get to that turkey. She was totally preoccupied with pecking that mirror image of herself,” said Anderson, who is used to seeing Big Canoe’s wildlife on his morning walks.
Wild turkeys are captivating creatures as they strut around the woods and yards of Big Canoe. Reprinted below is “Counting down the top 10 turkey truths,” an article by Paul Powers that ran in the November 2012 issue of Smoke Signals.
Counting down the top ten wild turkey truths
By Paul Powers Photos by Paul Powers
Original published in Smoke Signals in November 2012
Editor’s Note: Paul Powers is a wildlife photographer and former resident of Big Canoe. From time to time, he submitted photographs and educational information on the birds and animals that live among us.
10. Wild turkeys can recognize each other by their unique voices and more than 20 distinct vocalizations in wild turkeys have been identified.
9. Like cats and dogs, wild turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals that form strong social bonds and show great affection to others. 8. The adult wild turkey has over 5,500 feathers.
7. Wild turkeys have very powerful legs and can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour, with their top speed in flight up to 55 miles per hour.
6. Adult male wild turkeys are named Toms and females are named Hens. Very young birds are Poults, while juvenile males are Jakes and juvenile females are Jennies and a group of turkeys is termed a flock.
5. A wild turkey has the ability to see in color with excellent daytime vision that is three times better than a human’s eyesight and covers 270 degrees, but they have poor vision at night.
4. The bald head of a wild turkey can change colors in seconds with excitement, emotion or temperature. When turkeys are hot their heads are red, when turkeys are cool they’re blue.
3. A female wild turkey lays a “clutch” of 10 to 12 eggs over a 10 to 14 day period, usually laying one egg per day. Eggs are incubated for about 28 days, and are occasionally turned and rearranged until they are ready to hatch. A newly hatched must be ready to leave the nest within 12 to 14 hours to feed. 2. The wild turkey gobble can be heard up to a distance of one mile.
And the number one turkey truth is:
1. Artificial feeding of the Wild Turkey can be a great risk to the turkey. The potential of disease transmission at feeding sites is a serious problem that can potentially cause the removal of entire flocks. Mold, which grows on wet or damp grain, can cause respiratory diseases in the turkeys. Feeding tends to make the turkey tame which can cause conflicts with others.
Without a doubt, artificial feeding will always be with us as long as people want to help wildlife in any way they think is best. The real benefit in artificial feeding of turkeys is that it fills a need for people. It does little, if anything, positive for the turkey population.