It’s not “Turkey Day” here in Ohio. That comes around in November when we celebrate Thanksgiving with feasts that usually include roast turkey; however, I was having a not-so-great photo day in the park…until this turkey crossed the trail. He was almost close enough to step on my toes, so I figured he had to be my blog post for the day. Turkeys have strangely small heads, so it makes me wonder about the size of their brains, but they do come in beautiful colors, especially the males. The female’s colors are more subdued, according to my iBird app.
There is quite a large population of turkeys in Chagrin River Park. Years ago, maybe around 10-12 years, there were just a few. Now there are two or three large rafters (groups) of turkeys that you may encounter anywhere along the trail. When dusk comes, they always return to the same group of trees. Once there, they flap their wings awkwardly and fly up to perch on tree limbs for the night. It’s a strange sight to see. Each bird chooses a separate limb, and they all flap around from tree to tree, until they find one that feels “right.” I’m always surprised to see that they don’t roost near the trunk or in the V where two large limbs meet. They seem to prefer perching in the middle of the limb. I can’t understand why they don’t fall off during the night.
If you look closely at a tom turkey (a male), you will see a piece of dangling flesh hanging below its face. That is called a snood, and according to this source, “it’s integral to the mating game, signaling to other toms that they should get out of his way and letting hens know that he’s got what they’re looking for.” If you want to know more (the R-rated bits), click on the link and read to your heart’s content. I think I know enough already.