Turkeys in Flight

After monitoring and photographing two flocks of wild turkeys for a week or so, I was able to tell their story in my last post. I was satisfied and was ready to move on. The only images that I lacked were birds in flight, but I dismissed the idea. Turkeys are more apt to walk or run than fly (unless harassed), and it’s unethical to disturb wildlife during the stressful winter season.

Then, yesterday morning happened. I decided to take the back roads into town, mainly to see how wild turkeys were responding to a 19 degree (F) day with 20 mph winds blasting powdery snow across open fields. I didn’t expect to see anything, but instinctively grabbed the camera and adjusted the settings for speed and snow. The definition of insanity?

I found a couple of birds in the corn stubble on high ground, moving toward the lee side of a hill. I didn’t realize what was happening until I pulled over and shut the truck off to get a better look. A flock had left the roost and walked into dense vegetation in a gully near the road. They were now flying across the road, a few at a time, a hundred feet in front of me.



The last bird to cross afforded me an opportunity to capture the complete process of a big, heavy bird, flying at perhaps 30 or 40 mph, coming in for a “soft” landing. Enjoy!







And that’s how it’s done! Questions???


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.



Wild Turkeys in Early Winter


In the snow belt of the North, agricultural lands provide critical winter habitat for wild turkeys. Not just any corn field or weedy fence row will do however. These large birds  – one of the largest in North America – also need spacious areas with a mixture of grain fields; mature woodlands; large evergreen cover and sheltered, southern exposures. Fields with spread cow manure are a welcome addition to the mix too.

With only a few inches of snow on the ground, our turkeys are unimpeded in their search for concentrated food sources. Flocks ranging from a few birds to 50 or more are often seen in the middle of the day walking, talking and “scratching” across farm fields.


Waste grain in harvested corn fields is a staple (fortunately, the geese didn’t consume all of it in the fall).





Bursts of “lake effect” snow often trigger intense feeding. Accumulating snow could eliminate this high energy food source in a matter of hours – and the birds know that.


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.