Turkey in the Rain


Turkey in the Rain

Daily Photo

In large gobbling flocks, wild turkeys strut unconcerned through the hills of Humboldt. Some of them taunt our dog by gawking at her from the ridges on either side of the house. They know no fear. Like the counter culture hippies who moved here in the early seventies, the birds are not native to Northern California. Turkeys, like the white settlers of the coastal region, arrived in the 1800’s. In the early 1900’s large turkey farms dotted the landscape of the southern part of the county. Huge flocks ambled before farmers all the way to Humboldt Bay where they were shipped out to San Francisco.

A few of those birds escaped and created wild flocks but it wasn’t until the last 35 years the turkeys have become part of the landscape of Southern Humboldt County. In Salmon Creek especially, they’ve flourished. Introduced in the seventies by hunters, they aren’t pursued by the current land owners so they proliferate. Last year, one hen chose to nest near my veggie garden. Nearly invisible in her brown camouflage, we didn’t notice her until I turned on the sprinkler the first time and the resulting spray caused her to gather her skirts and run squawking in terror. With a little care on our part, she returned. Within weeks we watched baby turkeys bumbling around.

Dian Fossey may have searched Africa hoping for glimpses of Gorillas in the Mist and I would love to see them, too, but thankfully I live where wildlife, native or not, is abundant–Turkeys in the Fog please my heart and ease my soul when I gather the energy to traverse the long curvy roads into town.


I stole this post but not the photo from here.

I’m a fool for wild turkeys– the toms, the hens, and the poults.



  • since I saw “that” video on youtube, turkeys just make me think Sarah Palin

  • That turkey looks pretty wet! Were you that close to it, or did you zoom in?

  • Gosh, the rain does nothing for it’s natural beauty. My poor chickens are miserable. They are huddled in my garage between down pours.

  • Bluelaker, I was probably 40 feet away so I zoomed quite a bit. Rain poured from above so it was hard to get a sharp photo. There was another one that I completely failed to get a decent snap of. It had this unicorn horn made out of the wattle stuff that usually hangs down poking straight off the top of its beak and then that was fringed with a boa of black feathers–very ugly but interesting.

  • I was driving through some timberland a few years ago and saw a wild turkey on the side of the road at the edge of the trees. I was so excited, I almost drove off the road myself. I’d never seen one in the wild before.

  • a few times a year i will be awakened by the loud pecking of a turkey tom abusing his own reflection on my truck bumper. it is amazing how long they will spend attacking their own image.
    as in the salmon crick area, the turkeys are everywhere in this neighborhood. i love to slowly drive by a group of the males and roll my windows down and yell “i want your weemen!” just to get them to gobble back at me. works everytime. fun is where you find it in the hills.

  • Turkey in the rain? I thought it was “Turkey in the Straw?”

  • Kym.. That ’07 photo from the original post is fabulous! Just beautiful and so evocative of our area.

  • he looks so much more colorful than I ever realized a turkey was (with feathers down).

  • you did capture that turkey looking handsome.
    often they look a Lot more alien, what with all the facial color changes!
    thanks for the history of how they came to be so common.
    without a dog, my side yard and front drive are on the turkey trail. the reflected image attacking noted above may have started out as cleaning the bugs off my bumper, as they do clean ’em up during the bug seasons.
    beside ‘littering’ while pulling up little clumps of yard looking for worms, they turn back the old rugs i have on the barefoot paths to kill that tiny frilly little prickly plant that runs wild around h’yar.
    the one for whom i am a mere catspaw plays a game of feigned disinterest with them, not acknowledging them but not avoiding them. he likes to be chased but not by numbers, and frequently uses the car hoods after a short chase.
    there is a large meadow up the road where the flocks of boyz and the flocks of girlz hang separately and intermingle in various permutations of gender. because they were getting fed nearby they tolerate slow closer vehicles driving through them. i get the impression that much like our dating, there is a whole lot of wasted time in mating approach behaviors that take time to usually fail. or maybe it is just about posturing…the dance.
    nice angle and shot kym. a flattering portrait.

  • Ben, that is one of my mom’s favorite photos that I’ve done. I actually don’t much care for it. I just didn’t capture the beauty and mystery that existed that morning.

    Richard, in most Humboldt winters, Turkey in the Rain is a song that fits us better!

    Elizabeth. They have gorgeous coppery colors to their feathers and red and blue heads but the lack of head featherage is a little disconcerting.

    olmanriver, the turkeys are fascinating creatures. I love watching them.

    I cracked up thinking of you driving through Salmon Creek hollering, “i want your weemen!” I wonder what the humanfolk make of that;>

  • you just destroyed my anonymity in your ‘hood!
    oh well, i would get run off by any locals if they heard me ululating a gobble or two back at ’em as i go. i am tellin’ ya, it is all about getting them to puff up, display and change colors. fun is where you make it in the hills!

  • For some reason I really love this photo, I don’t really know why but it makes me smile 🙂

  • Olman, Ululating a gobble is gonna be fine with the locals—its the “i want your weemen! that might raise a few eyebrows. But I’m hoping that I get to hear it at least once. I guarantee I won’t stop grinning for at least an hour.

    Mara, thanks, The poor thing looks a bit put upon in the rain but its colors were still beautiful.

  • glad to oblige someday.
    for the sake of clarity…”it is all about getting them to puff up, display and change colors” was in reference to turkeys…not the locals! getting the locals to puff up, display and change colors is what we do on certain of the blogs.

  • I knew it had to be a wild turkey. It wasn’t standing in the rain with its beak open, drowning itself. Very nice shot.

  • someone tipped off the local turkeys that i had been disparaging their appearance. my sideyard looks like an army of angry gnomes with nine irons played on through. i have never been so “diveted”… the turkeys are on the march in march!

  • It was the Salmon Cr. turkeys. They didn’t much care for the “I want your weeman…”

  • “i want your weeman”…aieeeee. noooooo. sheeeesh. the word i use is “weemin”…puhlease.
    if the tomturkeys hear it like you are saying it…that explains why they run so from me as they gobble. thank you for reminding me of the importance of enunciation when gabbling with gobblers!

  • Oh, blush. The shame.

  • OMR, it WAS an army of gnomes. They, too, misunderstood and thought you were demanding a “wee man”. They’ll not give ’em up, laddy.

  • now we are making perfect sense! thanks kato.

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