Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Wild Turkey

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Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo,
seen at Fancy Creek and Randolph – North end of Tuttle Creek Reservoir in Kansas.

Image: Dave Rintoul, KSU. [larger view].


  1. #1 HP
    April 7, 2008

    I went for a walk today at work (in a suburban area surrounded by secondary growth woodland) and there was a very proud wild tom turkey loudly advertising his availability for the fertilization of eggs. (At least, that’s what I assume he was doing.)

    He sounded to be about 30 yards off into the trees, and though I scanned the underbrush, I couldn’t see him at all.

  2. #2 Chris' Wills
    April 7, 2008

    What a stunning looking bird.

    Far better looking than his white farmed relatives.

  3. #3 David Harmon
    April 8, 2008

    Gorgeous! No wonder Ben Franklin wanted them for our national bird (instead of the bald eagle).

  4. #4 "GrrlScientist"
    April 8, 2008

    i am always amazed at how cryptic these birds can be, despite their large size and stunning coloration. i was disappointed when in kansas since all my pictures of them ended up being pictures of brush heaps with random dark blobs behind the brush.

    after growing up in a farming community, i am convinced that farmers selectively bred small domestic animals to be white (and stupid) because they couldn’t otherwise see them to farm them effectively. as an added bonus, white animals are easier to see in those huge, barely-lit barns that are used for modern factory-farming, too.

  5. #5 Phil Hotlen
    April 9, 2008

    I am wondering what subspecies this tom turkey is. The whitish tips to the tail would seem to rule out the eastern subspecies, which has more brownish-tan tips.

  6. #6 Albatrossity
    April 10, 2008

    It is the Rio Grande subspecies (Meleagris gallapavo intermedia). A fairly accurate map of the ranges of the various subspecies can be found here.

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