Thursday, November 25, 2010

Morning Visitors

A couple of Sundays ago I was debating whether to rollover and go back to sleep or get up and out of bed when I heard them. Turkeys, outside my bedroom window. I jumped up, threw on some clothes, and grabbed my camera.

Wild turkeys disappeared from New Jersey in the 1800’s. Hunting and habit loss were the main reasons. Attempts to reintroduce the species in the early twentieth century, using domestic birds, were not successful. 

In 1977 twenty-two wild birds, seven male and fifteen female, were released in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Between 1979 and 2003, two thousand birds were trapped and released within the state, and now wild turkeys can be found in 20 of the 21 counties in New Jersey. Including Burlington.

And more specifically, in Edgewater Park. In my front yard.

I don’t remember ever seeing a turkey as a kid, although I spent quite a bit of time in the woods (I do remember seeing and hearing plenty of quail; sadly, their calls echo in my woods no longer). My life turkey was on November 22, 2001. At was at my cousin’s for Thanksgiving dinner (outside Freehold, NJ) and there were a dozen or so roosting in a tree in her backyard. 

Yeah, I got my life turkey on Thanksgiving.

For the next couple of years I saw turkeys occasionally, usually a few birds while wandering the less populated areas of south Jersey. Maybe a half dozen times a year.

Now it is an unusual week where I do not see a turkey, either in town, driving to or from work, or while out in the field.

Now it may be an artifact of my spending most of my time here, but Edgewater Park seems a particularly popular location. In addition to the seventeen birds wandering about the grounds of my condominium, there was another flock of twenty-two birds not more than a quarter-mile away, feeding in and around a retention pond.

Seems that reintroduction of twenty-two wild birds was a success.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Steve! And what a great story of turkey resilience. I recently saw a flock of about 20 turkeys near me - but didn't have a camera at hand.

Zen Photography said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you Steve!
Great post i enjoyed it and nice sharp images of the turkeys, great photography! Cheers Lou

Ron a.k.a. Danudin said...

Happy Thanksgiving, BTW did you hear those birds asking themselves, "Who is the Turkey with the camera, and why are his shoes on the wrong feet"? LOL

Lené Gary said...

I especially like the head shot. Turkeys have had an amazing comeback in Vermont too. Hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving. :)