Photo of the Week: The Turkey’s Iconic Tail is a Spring Thing

A male Wild Turkey’s mating display – pretty impressive!

The ungainly Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) comes into its own in the spring. The male struts slowly in front of the females in full mating display. Energetic gobbling frequently accompanies the ritual. His brilliantly colored feathers may be an important indicator to females of a healthy potential mate.  Turkeys are native to the United States and Mexico.  In the 1500’s,  turkeys domesticated in Mexico were taken to Europe, became a popular dinner item and were eventually brought to the eastern US by settlers.  Quite a circuit! The male turkey’s fanned tail may be a traditional symbol of our autumn Thanksgiving, but it’s an important rite of spring as far as the turkeys are concerned!

 

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