My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Turkey of a day!

Today I had the opportunity to assist the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) band a dozen Wild Turkeys here in Allegany State Park. This is the final year of their project looking at the harvest and survival rates of the male Turkey in New York State.

Turkey and Tom (me)
That’s me and the Turkey

Making this Turkey day happen started back in December with our department looking for potential prospects. We easily found wondering birds but could never really find any of the birds returning to the same area. Just before Christmas we thought we had a cooperative flock but the birds disappeared just as an unexpected thaw melted all the snow.

The Net and the Birds
The net with birds!

Last week we finally located a group that had potential and continued monitoring the birds’ movements. Tuesday was going to be “the day” . . . . except the birds changed their routine on us. We waited . . . . waited . . . and we waited forever for the birds to arrive! Just as the crew was going to throw the towel in, the birds starting arriving one by one! Making the long story short, our Turkey some how got spooked off the site and we lost our chance for the day!

Turkey Head Turkey Head
These birds are so colorful!

Today was our second attempt and worth every second of all the work we put into these birds. My morning started shoveling a huge area of snow where the cannon net would be placed. The DEC arrived to set everything up and we were waiting in a near-by parking lot. I waited . . . . . was singing with the radio . . . . ate lunch . . . . played on my cell phone (looking at facebook stuff) . . . and then we finally got the word that the birds arrived!!! About 20 minute’s later we heard the bang from the cannon net and off we went to the banding site.

Placing the Band on the Bird
Placement of the bands!

Everything happened so quickly but I have to thank the DEC team for the great opportunity in assisting them and learning more about Turkeys in the hand than I ever thought possible. This adventure was just as much fun as our last Turkey banding session . . . but obviously this session had more meaning to it!

Me Releasing
Then the release!


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26 responses

  1. Wow! Quite a catch there. They are colorful. Those must be the super – size bird bands on their legs. That looks like it was really a great day.

    29 January 2009 at 11:28 pm

  2. Well, this is very cool! How do the “cannon” nets work? In your other post you said there was a bang?

    29 January 2009 at 11:30 pm

  3. Grace

    They are colorful birds. You wouldn’t see the irredescent bronze feathers unless you were very close.

    29 January 2009 at 11:43 pm

  4. a – may – zing…! I wanted to make a lot of funny comments about how much more handsome you are then the turkey’s but in the end decided that was just juvenile…. What a great way to spend a really snowy day Tom. This looked so much more fun then just watching TV!

    30 January 2009 at 12:07 am

  5. I encounter wild turkeys all the time as I drive the back roads here in Maine. It amazes me that I don’t see any that have been hit by cars. They do have their own beauty even if they seem kind of out of kilter and disproportionate. Thanks for the great closeups.

    30 January 2009 at 5:21 am

  6. Lisa at Greenbow

    What a fun job. Turkeys are beautiful birds and smart. No wonder they were difficult to capture.

    30 January 2009 at 6:39 am

  7. How fun that must have been, though I can’t imagine wrangling those huge birds when you are used to the small owls! :C)

    30 January 2009 at 6:40 am

  8. Wow Tom no wonder you were delighted with excitement. Seeing you holding the turkey shows just how big these birds get. Awesome post.

    30 January 2009 at 7:47 am

  9. How heavy are those birds? They look more sleek than their grain fed, cooped up cousins. They have done well here since being reintroduced to Ontario.

    30 January 2009 at 7:48 am

  10. Andrea

    It paid off…the anticipation!!! How cool is that picture of you holding a turkey, a live turkey!! How many people actually get to do that???
    Congratulations!!!!

    30 January 2009 at 8:13 am

  11. Double wow! I see wild turkeys all the time in Maine, too, even in out yard. Have some great shots, but yours are “way cool”. Wonderful post.

    30 January 2009 at 10:31 am

  12. Luis M.

    No kidding Ruth, I’d go as far as to say Turkeys are quite common now in certain areas of Ontario. I can think of a couple spots where “Turkey Crossing” road signs instead of deer would not be out of place!

    On a side note,

    Just wanted to say that it’s nice to see this blog back and updating regularly again. Always enjoy reading it with my morning coffee. Thanks 🙂

    30 January 2009 at 11:13 am

  13. Janet

    this has nothing to do with turkeys, but I want to ask if you have any insight into a situation we have with blueJays. I’ve got quite a large group of them coming to my feeders this winter – I’ve counted 24… this morning a few of them have started attacking my house. Actually they seem to be attacking the doorways of both the front door and the mudroom door. I can’t see what could possibly be attracting them and they arent attacking their reflections, but the door frames themselves – clinging on the frame and tapping like woodpeckers and just the two doors, not windows. I can’t see any damage – yet. At first we thought the buggers were knocking to tell me to get breakfast out there, but they kept at it after I put out the seed. I live in NH.
    any ideas -anybody???

    30 January 2009 at 11:27 am

  14. Tom, the catch is good but the release is FANTASTIC!

    30 January 2009 at 11:53 am

  15. I agree with Mary. The release is wonderful. I can picture the sound of its wings as it flys hurriedly away.

    30 January 2009 at 7:17 pm

  16. Well, I was all set to make some smart remark about which one is Tom and which one the turkey–but then I read the whole blog. Delightful. So no smarty jokes from me, just a word of thanks for once again informing me.

    30 January 2009 at 7:57 pm

  17. @ Linda – O wait . . at first I thought you were talking about me! 🙂 . . only kidding! Was a great day!
    @ Rondi – The cannons shoot the net over the subjects . . . would have been fun to see the bang!
    @ Grace – very colorful, thanks!
    @ Aullori – should have made it a birdQUIZ photo . . which one is the Tom . .
    @ Beth – I have heard horror stores about turkeys going through windows . . . . its almost like throwing a bowling ball through the window!
    @ Lisa – They are very beautiful . . . for sure they were!
    @ Jayne – those chickens were fun for sure!
    @ Toni – thanks and they are very strong little things!
    @ Ruth – think of frozen turkeys and then add some feathers . . . yep!
    @ Andrea – anticipation . . . patience . . . it was all worth it! I know right!
    @ Karen – thanks and is fun seeing up close!
    @ Luis – Thanks and sometimes we need little blogacations at times . . (thanks to whoever made up that word, I have been using it)! But still struggling with coming up with post . . . . I feel like I am repeating myself at times!
    @ Janet – read your comment with my cell phone . . . this is a tough one for sure! What you feeding these bluejays? Must be a behavior they are learning somewhere else . . or maybe you have ants around the doors . . if it isn’t reflections . . not sure what to tell you!
    @ Mary – would have been better if you were releasing with me! 🙂
    @ Kallen – thanks and they are not silent like the owls!
    @ KGMom – you should have seen what captions to place under that picture . . . I had a few myself! Thanks

    30 January 2009 at 9:34 pm

  18. I don’t think there is a more beautiful creature than a male turkey strutting and drumming on a spring morning !!

    30 January 2009 at 10:34 pm

  19. So funny to see someone holding a turkey! Very interesting stuff – I would imagine they could be very strong and give a good kick if you weren’t careful!

    30 January 2009 at 11:06 pm

  20. Fantastic post. It must have been one exciting day.

    31 January 2009 at 9:29 am

  21. hickory splint homestead

    Thank you for providing your knowledge of the natural world. I learn so much from your posts! — barbara

    31 January 2009 at 11:40 am

  22. Beautiful AND delicious. I know where Ben Franklin was coming from. 😉 Kudos to you, as always, for helping the cause!

    31 January 2009 at 2:54 pm

  23. Marg

    Wow what a great day! they are so beautiful and yet ugly all at the same time

    1 February 2009 at 5:46 am

  24. @ Bernie – thanks and agree 100%
    @ Bird Girl – kick yes but also need to watch those wings! Very strong birds!
    @ ncmountainwoman – sure was!
    @ hickory split – glad you enjoyed!
    @ Lana – It was fun helping these guys . . they sure know their stuff!
    @ Marg – thanks wish you could have been there!

    1 February 2009 at 10:01 am

  25. Sure thought you were hunting when I saw that first photo.

    1 February 2009 at 11:41 am

  26. Janet

    The jays always take the bread scraps first – they stuff as much as they can hold in their beaks – and it’s alot! Then they go for the cracked corn and sunflower seeds.
    Can’t be ants they’re going after – too cold and I can’t see any insect activity on my house.
    I sat outside in the car for a couple hours on Saturday to watch them. They not only are going crazy knocking on my doors and house, but they have an extreme fascination with our old plow truck. They keep pecking at the metal on the truck! I never figured out what they’re doing… at least my dogs are so used to them tapping on the doors that they don’t bark at it anymore.
    One thing that has surprised me about them is that I thought they were a gang of bullies, but they always demur to the mourning doves. If I ever figure this odd behavior out, I’ll let you know.
    Thanks, Janet

    2 February 2009 at 12:20 pm

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