Turkey Tracks

James Riley

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I looked in the back yard this morning and saw several turkeys followed by a Tom all puffed up and fanned out like a classic-looking turkey (never saw the wild ones around here looking that way). Must be mating?

Later, I walked back there and found a set of tracks that wove up and down, back and forth like a repeated S. The ground almost looked scratched. It was not one foot print after another but more like foot prints tied together with a long scratch over and between the foot prints. Is this a dance like Prairie Chickens do, or what?

I took a picture but Photobucket is now forcing me to watch video ads which take up bandwidth, notwithstanding their note that it won't slow the up load. (I'm in the sticks). I'm thinking of dumping them but they've got a lot of my stuff and it used to be convenient.
 

kansasdad

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When at full strut the wing tips will be touching/digging into the ground. Birds killed early in the season will still have most of their wing tips intact. A hard strutting bird later in the season will have flattened the wing tips down to a straight line. I'm guessing this is what you saw...feather tracks.
 

James Riley

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When at full strut the wing tips will be touching/digging into the ground. Birds killed early in the season will still have most of their wing tips intact. A hard strutting bird later in the season will have flattened the wing tips down to a straight line. I'm guessing this is what you saw...feather tracks.

Ah, feathers! Thanks. I thought maybe they were dragging a toe or something. I managed to get the photo up-loaded:

001_1.jpg
 

kansasdad

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Nice photos. Strutting with feathers down. I can imagine the whole body shaking to make those lines quiver, especially like the ones on the far left. And if I'm reading the sign correctly, he puts his feathers down and is slowly quivering forward, ever widening his body and thus his wing tips as the lines in the dirt seem to open wider as he moves forward.
 
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James Riley

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Nice photos. Strutting with feathers down. I can imagine the whole body shaking to make those lines quiver, especially like the ones on the far left. And if I'm reading the sign correctly, he puts his feathers down and is slowly quivering forward, ever widening his body and thus his wing tips as the lines in the dirt seem to open wider as he moves forward.

Thanks for the read. So, is he doing this alone, to impress females, or is it some kind of "dance off" against another male? I did not see it actually happen. I just saw them in my yard this morning afterward, and saw these tracks later.

Once, a long time ago, I was cresting a small rise at sun up on the Pawnee National Grasslands and came upon some Prairie Chickens doing a dance. One of the most awesome things I've ever seen. There was an eerie fog all around and there were a bunch of females in a circle about 30 meteres in diameter, facing in, watching some males bob around in a smaller, inside circle. It reminded me so much of some of the Indians I've seen at pow wows. I'm wondering if the turkeys do something similar.

I'd like to catch them in the act.
 

kansasdad

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First hand experience with a blunted wing tip tonight. Pic is him laying on the processing table.
 

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