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Featured Bird of the Month
November: Wild Turkey
A tall, strong-legged bird, the feathers of the wild turkey are iridescent with dark bronze, shot with hints of copper and acid green. Displaying in spring, the male erects its plumage in the strut posture, its enormous tail fanned, wings drooping, and wattles ablaze. A “beard” of wiry, barbless feathers sprouts from the center of his breast. Hens are visibly smaller and paler than gobblers, with a brown cast to their plumage and without distensible wattles. The wild turkey’s strong legs and feet help it scratch its way across the forest floor, raking away debris to uncover acorns, tree seeds, and invertebrates. Turkeys pluck buds and fruits as they walk or clamber through branches, and they strip grasses of their seeds by running stems through their bills. Today, the large dark forms of wild turkeys are a familiar sight along many highways, and the birds even come to backyard feeders. The wild turkey can fly surprisingly fast for such a large bird, but only for short distances.