Mating or "gobbling" season for the Easter Wild Turkey
While spring has not yet officially arrived, here in Pennsylvania a change can be felt in the air and wildlife movement and feeding patterns are changing in anticipation of the warm weather to come.
The migration of waterfowl is now in full swing and the wild turkeys are showing the first signs of the arrival of the mating season or “gobbling season”. The male birds begin gobbling with the onset of warmer weather in March but it is usually sporadic in nature until the end of the month or early April when it intensifies.
I saw the first signs of this today when turkeys came to my photographic blind both this morning and evening. Only one mature gobbler was there this morning, and he was interested only in feeding.
He returned in the evening and resumed feeding, but then a small flock came running to the area with another large gobbler in hot pursuit. His head was swollen and his feathers were ruffled as he aggressively chased some of the other birds. I recorded this activity with the video camera, and then switched to the still. At one point he came quite near the blind, in fact actually too close to get a full portrait shot with the 500mm and there was no chance to change to a smaller lens. Unfortunately, by this time his head had reverted to its' normal appearance.
Although these shots do not show how mating season affects the appearance of a gobbler, they do show how one looks up close and personal.
All Shots: Canon 40D-500mmF4 IS