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The “Strut”

2-12-14  tom turkey displaying IMG_7084The Mystery Photo guesses were extremely entertaining. Most creative and funniest: “A very overweight raccoon cross-country skiing with his belly dragging in the middle?” In all fairness, the fluffiness of the snow certainly didn’t help give the answer away.

When male Wild Turkeys, or toms, are displaying for one or more females during courtship, their behavior includes something referred to as the “strut.” This involves the male turkey fanning his tail, lowering his wings with the middle primary feathers dragging on the ground, raising his back feathers, throwing his head back and inflating his crop as he glides along the ground in view of one or more females. In snow, this behavior leaves a relatively straight line of turkey tracks with a line (or several) to either side of the tracks, left by the tom’s primaries. (When the tom turns a corner, several feather tips often leave numerous lines in the snow.) Wild Turkeys are already displaying in our woodlands, in preparation for mating in March.

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4 responses

  1. Karen Johnson

    nice and thanks for the heads up on the preschool. Karen


    February 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

  2. We have up to several dozen turkeys that visit our yard throughout the year. The toms often display on our dirt road. When they drag their feathers on solid surfaces there’s a distinct noise, which to our human ears is audible at well over a hundred feet.

    February 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    • Very interesting, Tom. I’ve never had the opportunity to hear that!

      February 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm

  3. Rebecca Weil

    Perfect!! I wondered about Turkey! I have porcupine on my brain since one is denned just below my barn…..

    February 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm

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