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Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys have made a spectacular comeback in the Adirondack Mountains. When I moved here in the mid-1970s Wild Turkeys had been hunted out of existence. Now we often see them trooping through our yard in the summer followed by a brood of fuzzy young ones.

This winter a small flock of about six has discovered our bird feeders. They peck and scratch in the snow looking for dropped seeds. One enterprising male was even spotted standing on a snow bank, stretching up to pick seeds out of my “Squirrel-Proof” chickadee feeder. On cold days we toss an extra cup of seed and corn on the ground for them. They’ve learned to come running when they hear the door open.

Turkeys prefer to walk or run, but when threatened they can fly. The great whoosh of feathers when they take off is enough startle any would-by predators.

They are ground feeders, eating seeds, nuts, tender evergreen buds, and the occasional snail, salamander, or insect. They roost in trees at night, but nest on the ground with the females providing all the care for the young.

Although they look dark brown in the forest, when the sun hits them they blaze with metallic bronzes, greens, and gold. I’ve made Turkeys before and it’s a challenge to carve their fanned tails and extended wings. It’s especially tricky to capture the iridescence of their feathers. I’ve found brushing bronzing powders over the final nearly dry paint works the best. In the meantime, they put on a pretty good show during the long winter.

2 Comments
  1. Yes the turkey are a beautiful bird. I remember my father and I were at our country house and there was a place that we were when a flock of turkey filled the sky it took both of us off of gard. The sky was just black and the sound was unbelievable. Truly a beautiful thing to remember.
    My father is gone now but he and I both us to watch your TV show when you did your woodcarving we both loved it, I have tried for many years to find dvds of your show to watch but in all this time can’t. I wondered if you wood have any idea how to get them. I even tried the TV station but they can’t help. I would love to get them from you if it was possible but don’t think you are able. If by chance you can help please let me know. I would love to see you back on TV again. If you think you ever would be on TV please let me know. It has been a pleasure speaking with you take care and thank you for sharing your trips. Best regards. Christopher.

    • Hello Christopher,
      That sounds like quite an experience with the Turkeys. We don’t get big flocks like that where we live, but they are still spectacular when they fly.
      I checked with the TV station too, and DVDs are not available. Some of the episodes are on youtube. I also hope to do some youtube videos in the future.
      Happy Carving!
      Rick

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