Up here, wild turkeys provide the percussion for the Spring and Fall orchestra of songbirds and frogs. Sometimes, one group will gobble from the south side of our house while another flock replies from the north. The call and response will beat in the background for hours. Not loud and annoying but peaceful and at ease with the world. There aren’t any predators when they make such contented sounds.

The handsomest sound of all comes when a Tom or two puffs up to 3 times their size and sidles up to a hen on a gravel road. Their wings are extended so stiffly downwards that they drag on the loose rock sending silvery shimmers of sound sliding up and down the hillside.



  • You really do live out in the wilds! I didn’t know you had wild turkeys that close.

  • Is it true that turkeys look up to the sky with their mouths open when it rains, until they drown? 😀

  • Kym, we have wild turkeys all around our house in Benbow.

    The turkeys that we have here were introduced by the Mitchells that have the ranch across the South Fork from Sprowel Creek. They first tried with a variety of turkeys back in the sixties that didn’t make it , and then they tried with this strain of turkey that has done well. It was all done with the co-operation of the fish and game. Which surprises me, because to my knowledge we have never had wild turkeys here before, so that would make it an introduced species. I don’t see that they compete, or do any harm, but they must have some impact. Maybe they compete with the native grouse… Don’t really know…

  • Also, you are making me nuts with the Bear Onion thing. The plants just this side of the turkeys look like bear onions, and the dried stock of the flower stock is visible with the turkey in the back of it. If you tear a leaf in two it will have spider webs between the pieces. That’s how you can tell the plant. If there is no webs it isn’t soap root, or bear onion.

  • Yep, they’re soap root (I’m not calling them bear onion. I know you said people can eat them but anything that can be used as soap is not what I call edible!)

    I’m looking forward to seeing the flowers again.

  • Yaake, it rains so much around here that if wild turkeys drown in the rain, we wouldn’t have any. Turkeys are actually fairly smart. Ben Franklin proposed them as our National bird.

  • I think our turkeys were introduced by Jack Branch but I’m not sure. It seems to me that Brown’s Sporting Goods had something to do with it. Does anyone else remember?

  • We have a new bunch on the Avenue of the Giants between Maple Hills and Phillipsville. First time I’ve ever seen them here. Some mushroom hunters claim that turkeys are hard on mushrooms. In the Southwest where they are native, turkeys are held in great esteem and their feathers are used ceremonially.

  • I hope they don’t end up being despised around here. I love them.

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