THE WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
Tom turkeys (adult male turkeys) are strutting their stuff in the woods of Oakland County and proudly displaying their multi colored feathers that glitter with metallic shades of copper, bronze, gold and red. And when hens (female turkeys) respond – game on!
Breeding season is not a subtle affair. Exuberant gobbles great dawn moments after eager toms glide down from secluded tree top roosting spots. They trot through woodlands and meadows at 10 miles an hour and try to lure receptive hens. The toms’ bright red snood on top of their beaks and wiggling wattle under their beaks adds to the enticement package that screams—Look at me!
Flocks of hens are not the only wild creatures paying close attention to the gobblers when they fan their tail feathers, spin and strut. Coyotes look forward to fresh meat turkey feasts when these big birds focus on mating and ignore their usual situational awareness caution. If a coyote purses, a brief burst of energy can accelerate their escape pace to 20 miles per hours before bursting into flight and heading for safety. And although many humans are unaware that wild turkeys can fly — unlike their morbidly-obese farm yard cousins — these beautiful woodland birds can fly 50 miles per hour for a short distance leaving the coyote wondering “Where did dinner go?”
Text and photos by Jonathan Schechter, Oakland County Parks Nature Education Writer: www.DestinationOakland.com