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.

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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!

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

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

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19 thoughts on “Turkeys in Flight

  1. Beautiful shots of the wild turkeys. The soft landing shots were spectacular. You were lucky to catch them in flight.

    • Hi Betsy. Happy to hear your thought on the “soft landing” sequence because I think it was a unique opportunity that won’t be repeated in my lifetime! Things change so quickly … the turkeys/corn stubble/snow scene in the post has been wiped out with 2 days of warm weather and rain.

  2. Great flight shots! A couple years ago I had a wild turkey fly across the road right in front of me, scared me to death practically! 😉 I had never seen one fly before until then. But, alas, no capture for me. Well done!

    • Thanks Donna. That’s a good story! It’s not unusual to have a turkey encounter around here in winter. Deep snow will drive birds to cleared roadsides where they can find a few weed seeds and grit. The appearance of a bird in flight is so different from the sleek, streamlined version on the ground and I’m glad I could capture the transformation!

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