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Posts Tagged ‘Wild Turkey’

I do not know where the Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) were hiding, but I don’t think that I spotted a single one all summer. All of the sudden they seem to be back and I have seen them repeatedly during my most recent visits to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

During most of my encounters, I have spotted them in the distance, pecking away at the side of the trail. Before I can get within camera range, they usually sense my presence and waddle into the undergrowth. I was fortunate, however, to capture a shot of this one turkey who had lingered in the open a bit longer than his compatriots.

Wild Turkey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday I was thrilled to get a glimpse of this impressive-looking Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I have seen Wild Turkeys at this refuge on numerous occasions, but this is one of the first images that I have been able to capture this spring.

I am always amazed when I come upon a male turkey displaying his feathers. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston and the only turkeys that I ever saw were those in the freezer at the supermarket, which did not look anything like this bird, and the cutout figures that we would pin to the wall to celebrate Thanksgiving. Somehow I always thought those cutouts were cartoonish caricatures—little did I know that wild turkeys actually look like those colorful figures.

wild turkey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I spotted this large Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) strutting about at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge this past weekend with about a dozen of his close friends. It was hard to get a group shot, so I focused instead on the largest turkey in the group and captured this image.

Wild Turkey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The vegetation at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge was so high recently that these two foraging wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) disappeared from view each time they leaned forward. It was like a game trying to figure out where they would pop up next. I played the game for for quite some time before I was able to capture them both in a single frame with their eyes visible—in most of the other shots the turkeys were looking away from me.

wild turkeys

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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This past Monday I spotted this Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge as it basked in the warmth of the early morning sunlight. Earlier this year I would see turkeys regularly as I walked the trails at the wildlife refuge, but the last couple of months such sightings have been rare.

wild turkey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Sometimes the view from the back is just as spectacular as the view from the front. I spotted this male Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) in full display this past Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. There were no females around to impress, but somehow, like a vain bodybuilder, this guy seemed compelled to flex and show off, even while doing something as mundane as foraging for food.

Initially I was disappointed that this turkey steadfastly refused to turn around and show me his face. As I surveyed the scene, though, I realized that I really loved the perfect fan shape of the displayed tail and the geometric abstractness of the the turkey from this angle. In fact, this kind of a shot might cause viewers to linger a little longer on the image as they gradually figure out what the main subject is, i.e. that it is a wild turkey.

 Wild Turkey
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I was amazed and thrilled yesterday when I spotted an impressively large male Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) putting on a showy display at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge near the edge of an open field. I suspect the lady turkeys were impressed too.

I have seen wild turkeys multiple times at this wildlife refuge, but generally it has been groups of females and their offspring. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, “Courting males gobble to attract females and warn competing males. They display for females by strutting with their tails fanned, wings lowered, while making nonvocal hums and chump sounds. Males breed with multiple mates and form all-male flocks outside of the breeding season, leaving the chick-rearing to the females.” I was not able to get close enough to hear any gobbling, but the visual display by itself was stunning.

Spring is the season for love and I will be on the lookout as more male birds try to outdo their competitors and find mates using their brilliant colors, musical calls, or elaborate courting rituals.

Wild Turkey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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