Tag Archives: Wild Turkey

Baby Turkey Encounter!

Turey baby poult ©Kim Smith 2014A baby turkey is called a poult.

Turkey baby poult hen ©kim Smith 2014Where was the Tom?

This little turkey family seemed so vulnerable. Although blending well with the surrounding vegetation, the hen was disabled. She was only able to half walk, half hop. Despite her injury, she kept close watch over the babies as they foraged. I was especially surprised that no Tom came charging to protect the flock, which has been my experience with past turkey encounters.

Turkey baby poults ©Kim Smith 2014

Turkey baby poult flying ©Kim Smith 2014.Turkey babies poult hen ©kim Smith 2014.Turkey Hen and Poults

Two Sisters

Two turkey hens ©Kim Smith 2013

Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris)

Benjamin Franklin writes a letter to his daughter Sarah Beche  in 1784, criticizing the appearance and choice of the Bald Eagle as the national bird of the United States, presumably preferring the Wild Turkey, “…I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in truth the Turkey is in comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a Red Coat on.”

Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris)

The Cherry Street Gang (of Turkeys)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

The turkeys populating Cape Ann are descended from wild-trapped New York birds. By 1851, the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) was extirpated from Massachusetts because of widespread loss of habitat and hunting. Nine unsuccessful attempts to reestablish the birds were made between 1911 and 1967. Between 1972 and 1973, 37 birds were released in Berkshire County. The bird’s range quickly expanded, establishing populations from the western to the furthest eastern regions of Massachusetts. To read more about the Wild Turkey visit the Massachusetts Audubon Breeding Bird Atlas