Skeptical scavengers

A couple of days ago the big acorn-hunters were back in the neighborhood, this time at least 19-strong.  As the two mature toms chased each other around, the rest of the flock pursued their acorn-scavenging rather sedately.  This time I positioned myself in what seemed to be the general direction that they appeared to be going and stood stock still, and Frances was with me again; several approached to within 20 feet or so of me, enabling me to make several rather more intimate portrait shots than I’ve been able to get recently.

I am consistently amazed at the rather bizarre (to my eye) shapes and forms (especially the knobby, lumpy caruncles) into which their skins have evolved and the colors they have adapted.  And what possible attraction or advantage can the snood (the fleshy part that sticks up from the beak and, in mature adults, grows to a rather surprising length) provide, one might ask?  Actually, it can extend and retract and change color intensity, along with the head and can thereby reflect a bird’s excitement level, taking one position and color when the turkey is at rest and another when it’s alert and active, so it actually helps in communication among members of the flock.  And it’s a cool Scrabble word!

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About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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15 Responses to Skeptical scavengers

  1. krikitarts says:

    They really are pretty fantastic creatures! Thanks, Cindy!

  2. victoriaaphotography says:

    Great ‘portrait’ shots. They have such interesting features to photograph.

  3. Angeline M says:

    Wow, these are great photos! I think I like the last one best.

  4. Mike Powell says:

    I love the photos, but they are definitely strange looking birds.

  5. Adrian Lewis says:

    Excellent portraits, Gary – and especially the middle one – and especially your rendition of the neck feathers in this shot – they look like armour! Adrian

    • krikitarts says:

      That occurred to me, too, Adrian–or possiby even fish scales. It is just so much fun to be able to study these amazing birds in such detail–wish you could be here to see them in person!

  6. seekraz says:

    Very interesting, Gary…love the details…and those are almost frighteningly ugly birds…if truth be told. :)

  7. Finn Holding says:

    Why do turkeys have bald heads at all, like vultures? I know why vultures are bald but the same reasons don’t apply to turkeys. Great portraits btw.

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