Kathryn’s Blog – Wild Turkeys
(In lieu of the Australian Blog)
Wildlife mesmerizes me. In the mountains of northern New Mexico, I spend hours gazing at animals that come around the cabin – bears, elk, deer, coyotes, chipmonks, rabbits, turkeys, ravens, blue jays, and other birds. On mornings when we get these visitors, I may forget to eat breakfast! Instead I take photos. Today, the wild turkeys arrived.
First, I hear the familiar gobble. A flock of seventeen wild turkeys are foraging the backyard for grass and flower seeds. Though I’m no expert, turkeys are a lot more interesting than they initially appear.
A gobble can be heard up to a mile away. It’s the primary way a tom keeps his hens in line. The tom, an adult male, is also warning other males to stay away from his harem. That’s not the only chauvenistic behavior he displays – he doesn’t help in tending the nest or raising the chicks.
A tom protects his harem from younger males too. This morning I saw THE TOM fight off two younger males. And he was not even protecting “his” hens; he simply wanted all the food for himself and his harem. How dare those young males compete for food? Of course, as I watched him fend the youngsters away from the seed, he was not eating either.
A while back, I noticed that turkeys seem to have remarkable eye-sight. I researched it to prove that my observation was correct, and I discovered that they not only see better than humans, but like us, they see in color. Turkeys, and other diurnal birds, see far more shades of colors than humans. Turkeys have extra layers of cones on their retinas than we mere mortals do, which accounts for their enhanced eye-sight. It’s the cones that are responsible for discerning color.
When science advances to the point where cones from turkey retinas can be transplanted into human eyes, I’ll be first in line!
All photos are used in an editorial or educational manner.
Turkey photos by Kathryn Lane and Bob Hurt
Turkeys Galore, a blog, is brought to you by Tortuga Publishing, LLC