News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Country birds

The wild turkey [Meleagris Gallopavo] is not a native species in Oregon.

Introduced in 1961 by ODFW, they are now well-established in the pine forests around the Metolius Basin. The subspecies Rio Grande has had the most successful natural expansion, although the Merriam's also has a steady population.

Females lay 10-14 beige mottled eggs which hatch in approximately 28 days, and within 24 hours of hatching the poults have left the nest. Insects, berries, seeds, and all variety of nuts are common foraging foods.

They are agile flyers and usually fly low, and for no more than a quarter mile, and roost in trees overnight.

The turkey came by its name through a misunderstanding. The English were shipped this bird by Turkish/Spanish ships and therefore named it a "Turkey."

Benjamin Franklin was a staunch supporter of the American wild Turkey as the national bird. Here is a short excerpt of a letter to his daughter Sarah Bache in 1784:

"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk [osprey]; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him."

A group of turkeys are referred to as a "dole," a "crop," a "gang," a "raffle," or a "posse" of turkeys.



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