Woodland Turkey

April 8 2013. Caledonia ON.  After a fulfilling morning at the bird observatory, a morning that produced lots of welcome sightings: Osprey, Eastern Phoebe and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker among them, I drove home wondering what would be next.  Spring migrants are streaming in, we heard our first Northern Flicker, a flight of three ponderous Great-blue Herons laboured their way nortward high above the river and the first Tree Swallows were swirling around checking out nest boxes. And I surprised myself with a couple of on-the-go shots of a group of Common Mergansers flying upstream.

There’s rain and a chance of thunder in the forecast; such turbulence does funny things sometimes setting off a cascade of new birds.  And if we do get a decent April rain it will prompt a frenzy of amphibian activity: Wood Frogs, Chorus Frogs and salamanders will all be racing (as only an amphibian can race) to the nearest pond to get the egg laying underway.

Turkey trot along the raodAs I joined a fast moving four-lane stream of traffic I noticed something along the edge of a dun-coloured field.  The traffic was reasonably sane so I pulled over, set my four-way flashers going and grabbed my binoculars.  As I’d suspected, a male Woodland Turkey was strutting along a hedgerow, fanning his tail to proclaim his dominion.  Somewhere in that vicinity he has a harem of lady friends, or at least he’s making plans to.  I managed to get my camera out and zoom in on him for this lucky, but hardly award-winning, shot. His impromptu appearance made him my Bird of the Day.

And if you’re wondering what species a Woodland Turkey is, well, I’m on a one man mission to get the so-called Wild Turkey renamed.  Here’s a link to my rant on this topic.