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!