Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Spring Turkeys: PA Spring Gobbler Season

At present the mating season of the Eastern Wild Turkey is going full steam ahead and I have been spending most mornings and evenings pursuing the birds with DSLR and Video Camera.

Distant Jakes

I usually see hens or jakes, but the mature gobblers do not always appear. Bird Photography is an added bonus while waiting for them. Recently, I was fortunate to get a decent chance at a male Rufous Sided Eastern Towhee. This bird frequents the woodlands, mostly scratching about in the understory.

Rufous Sided Eastern Towhee

If one is lucky, eventually they get the opportunity at their primary subject, but sometimes the encounters with other species are just as memorable.

Mature Gobbler Guarding His Hens

Wild turkeys are a popular game bird in Pennsylvania. The annual spring gobbler season runs from April 25th through May 25th statewide.

Only turkeys with visible beards are legal. Hunting is by calling only—no stalking. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon. Hunters must be out of the woods by 1 p.m.(Source PGC 2008-09 Hunting Digest)

Hunting pressure can be quite intense in areas open to public hunting and the birds quickly learn that season is in, so they can be extremely difficult to encounter.

I will of course be hunting only with camera, but the arrival of season usually means less photo opportunities.