Friday, May 6, 2011

Turkey Calling

Wild Turkey - Ohio Game and Fish
Gobble, gobble, gobble goes the call of the wild turkey in the spring looking for a mate.  Listen for them everywhere but specifically at Penitentiary Glen Reservation, Chapin Forest Reservation and Chagrin River Park.

Did you know?

The wild turkey is Ohio’s largest upland gamebird, standing three to four feet tall and weighing up to 24 pounds. It has a slim build, long neck, and nearly featherless head. The body feathers appear drab brown at a distance, but are actually iridescent when the bird appears in good light; this iridescence gives the bird its true coloration--bronze with hints of red, green, copper, and gold. The large tail is brown with a black band at the tip. Adult males (gobblers) have a reddish head, a long, tasseled “beard” that dangles from the breast, black-tipped breast feathers, and spurs on the legs. Female (hen) turkeys, have a bluish head, usually no beard, buff-tipped breast feathers, and no spurs.

An adult male turkey will weigh between 17 and 21 pounds; females are slightly smaller at 8 to 11 pounds. Gobblers stand about 40 inches tall; females 30 inches.

The wild turkey has returned to the Ohio landscape after many years of absence. This bird once inhabited forested areas of the entire state, providing food and sport for Native Americans and early Ohio settlers. As settlement continued and forest lands were converted to cropland, the wild turkey’s population dwindled to the point that no birds remained in the state by 1904.   As large tracts of land reverted to forested areas, the ODNR Division of Wildlife began a nearly 40-year effort to reestablish the wild turkey in the state.

For more information about Habitats and Habits, Reproduction and Care of the Young, Management Plans, and Viewing Opportunities, click here.

Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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