I read a recent article in the Hartford Courant which stated there has been a big decrease in Connecticut's Wild Turkey population over the last few years. They are attributing much of the decline to the wet spring weather we've had in Connecticut over the last two years.
If there is a lot of wet weather when hens are sitting on the nest, they don't have a chance to dry their feathers. This causes them to give off a stronger scent which makes it much easier for predators like coyotes and fishers to find them. After the predators find them they generally don't want to make small talk-they just eat them. Last June there was more wet weather, causing some of the newly hatched young turkeys to get a pneumonia-like illness that kills them.
Wild Turkey was one of the last birds to make it on to my January List. A couple of years of good spring weather should bring the numbers back up.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Wild Turkey :
- A Wild Turkey can run as fast as 25 miles an hour (especially around Thanksgiving).
- They can reach flight speeds between 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds.
- A wild turkey has a field of vision of about 270 degrees.
- There are five subspecies: Eastern, Osceola (Florida), Rio Grande, Merriam's and Gould's.
- The color of their heads and neck can change with their mood, a solid white head and neck color means that they are excited (normal color bluish head/red throat).
- Benjamin Franklin didn't like the idea of the Bald Eagle being the national bird and suggested the Wild Turkey instead.