P90224This is a relatively new development. The first few arrived here only two years ago. By last year, a few more arrived to make a significant herd that split into two smaller herds. Now these two smaller herds are quite significant. If they continue to proliferate as they have been, they will become more of a problem. They are already shredding flowers and colorful berries that are within their reach, and digging up flexible irrigation hoses.
They are not really wild turkeys, since they are not native here. They are actually feral turkeys that escaped into the wild and naturalized. They may have moved in from surrounding areas, or they may have escaped locally. Turkeys have been roaming parts of Scott’s Valley and my neighborhood in the Los Gatos Hills for a few years. Much larger herds roam other regions, particularly the Diablo Ranges east of the San Francisco Bay Area.
My former neighbor knew how to select the good ones. They all look the same to me. When they showed up on the road at my home, I could just chase them to the neighbor’s home, where he would take what we wanted. They were so stupid that he probably could have grabbed the good ones rather than shoot them. It is amazing that they could survive in the wild so stupidly.
I suppose that it was good that they survived to keep the meat fresh. However, I am now concerned about how these exotic and prolific birds might affect the ecosystem. Are they taking food from other wildlife? Are they dispersing seeds of the fruits they eat differently from other birds who eat them and fly away to other areas? Are they providing too much food for predators, and allowing them to proliferate more than they should naturally?P90224+

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “Wild Turkey

  1. I see in your last photo that one turkey is trying to get quasi aggressive with you. That’s the biggest problem with wild turkeys–which have become much more abundant in the last 20 years here in Connecticut.

    They chase children, they keep letter carriers from delivering and forget it if one is in the street and you need to go somewhere. We do have to relocate them away from populated areas on a fairly regular basis.

    Karla

    Like

  2. I can’t imagine having feral turkeys roaming around. Pheasants are bad enough. But surely it can’t be a herd, surely it’s a gobble of turkeys. No, I just looked it up and a group of turkeys is a ‘rafter”.

    Like

    1. We were concerned fora while that boars would be a problem. Not that many get hunted, yet, they do not seem to be proliferating like they had been. The turkeys are not exactly desirable in our neighborhood, but if they show up unwanted, it is just to easy to take advantage of the situation. I do not like turkey much, but these are rather different from most, sort of like big (but less meaty per volume) chickens.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. They can be mean, turkeys. These don’t look like the wild ones, which are much darker and pretty cunning. Goodness. I’ve walked up on a flock feeding in a clearing in the woods before and just backed slowly out, the same way I’d stay downwind of a bear. You could start eating them, but a lot of people would have to eat them…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So far, only the males are mean. They are likely to get taken out before they hurt anyone though. We are none too keen on them being here. My former neighbor took several from the local herd in our neighborhood, but it did not seem to make much of a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s an interesting thing to have going on, but you’re discussed the big problems they present, and as some others have said, they can also be mean. Do many people there actually shoot them? I’ve eaten wild turkey from here and it wasn’t very good.

    Like

    1. They are so stupid that they rarely get shot. My neighbor happened to shoot them just because that was his first reaction. It is just as easy to clobber one with a stick. I do not do it just because I prefer to get the neighbor to select a good one. He knows what to look for. I do not happen to like turkey much, but these are better than those that are purchased in the store. They taste slightly like chicken. There is not much mean on them. (After Thanksgiving, we got several turkeys that were about to be thrown away, which means there is not much space in the freezers for more.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those look like wild turkeys. Domesticated are usually white. They aren’t being aggressive in your pictures at all. The turkey in the last picture is a male trying to impress a female. In the summer they break off into small groups. In the winter they get together into a big flock. None have ever been aggressive around me. A female with babies, like any female with babies, can be aggressive. A male is only interested in other females. They will dislodge mulch, hoses and anything else that could be covering something to eat. They eat a lot and they poop a lot. I use hardwood mulch now after I realized they can’t dislodge hardwood as easily as pine mulch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were more white turkeys when they first arrived. Those in my neighborhood were still white just a few years ago. Weirdly, they all seem to be the same color. Those in white herds are all somewhat white. Those in this herd are all the same color, even though they were uniformly lighter colored when the first arrived two years ago. Males have gotten slightly aggressive with people in the neighborhood, but only when they are alone or a distance from their herd. Most of us just ignore them or chase them off.

      Like

  6. What can you do about them? They are probably protected, so you can’t shoot them. As wild birds, they likely are not very good to eat. And they are only trying to be wild birds, foraging for what they need. So the question remains — what can you do about them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We got a few in my neighborhood, but not enough to diminish the population. They are not bad, although I do not like turkey much. At work, nothing is being done about them yet. Some may get taken out, but like in our neighborhood, there are just too many. They are thought to be descendants of turkeys that were released to be shot at; which is a weird sport. They are also thought to be descendants of birds that were raised for meat, but escaped. I suppose that both theories could be accurate. When they first arrived, they were white, but subsequent generations have been more turkey colored like those in the picture. Because they are an invasive exotic specie, they may not be protected. Hunting is illegal in most regions, but wildlife can be shot on larger parcels. Some requires specific hunting licenses, which are so expensive and limited that not many of us bother to get licensed or hunt. Shooting turkeys may only require a permit.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This isn’t precisely related to your post, but I just have to tell you. I’m visiting a friend in the Texas hill country, and we were chatting this afternoon about her family’s time in California. When she mentioned Felton, I said, “Wait a minute. I think….”. Sure enough, the covered bridge she told me about is the same one you posted about here. They lived for years just about a block from the San Lorenzo river in Felton. What a small world it is! Even better, she’s a great fan of native plants, and my favorite person to go botanizing with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While so many migrate to California, many migrate away. I meet more Californians in western Washington than here. In fact, I met a few Californians in the region of Oklahoma City. There are not many Californians left here.

      Like

  8. Your turkeys do not look like the wild turkeys in Oklahoma. We have a nephew visiting from California and he was just telling us about these feral turkeys in residential areas and even in communities. Here, turkeys in large flocks can be seen at a distance but disperse quickly and skillfully as humans approach. I always try to sneak up on them with my camera, but they have really good vision. I lose out every time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are more likely feral turkeys that are descendants of domesticated turkeys. They roam about residential neighborhoods, and do not mind traffic much. They are so stupid that no one needs to shoot at them. It is easier to walk over and clobber one with a stick. I think they are better than domestic turkey, but I do not like turkey so much anyway. There were domestic turkey where we were in Oklahoma that resembled these, although fatter. I never saw the native wild turkeys there.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is where your professional role overtakes your human role. If put in your situation, I would just choose to just see the beauty of these creatures. I would have never contemplated the disbursement of seeds or how this might be impacting the local ecosystem. Perhaps that is why I am the backyard gardener and your are horticulturist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is more than professional. The ecology of our region is so dysfunctional now because of all the invasive exotic specie that have gotten established here. The wild turkeys are not much of a problem, but we really do not know what they are capable of. They could cause a proliferation of the coyote population, which we really do not need. They might be competing for food with the mountain doves. We just do not know yet.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s