describing rural wildlife, having a section on wild turkeys wouldn�t
immediately come to mind. Actually, in the last few years, the influx of
wild turkeys has had a real impact on our area.
American wild turkeys, the kind Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the
national bird, were in decline for many years. Recently our end of Sherilton
Valley has become a sanctuary for turkeys that have migrated into the area.
Years ago wild turkeys were reintroduced to various areas throughout the US
in an effort to increase their dwindling numbers and provide a game resource
for hunters. The turkeys in our area a descendents of a group that was
released about twelve miles away in the Julian area. See:
National Wild Turkey Federation.
we don't have dogs and I provide water sources throughout our property, the
turkeys have been spending quite a bit of time nearby. Actually, our ranch
is ideally suited for flocks of turkeys and it provides all the necessary
prerequisites. They like a mixture of open space (like pastures) and
nesting spots which are provided by our Coastal Live Oaks. It's this mixture
that is the key.
Our neighbors to the south
also put out food and we've received some teasing from people who
find the idea of protecting the turkeys ridiculous.
It's not a huge issue with me in that I'm not a vegetarian and I probably
eat turkey sandwiches several times a week. On the other hand, we moved to
the country to experience nature and I get a kick out of seeing wild
critters wander through the property. Besides, you can buy a turkey a Von's
for $8 and you don't have to mess with the feathers.
Still, we can�t ignore the negative impact this growing population is
causing. We have several flocks in our area and at times we�ve counted
groups of over 40. They eat all day long and it�s not hard to recognize
areas where the birds have browsed. They root through gardens and dig up and
eat any new growth they see. Their favorite areas where they take dust baths
soon become bare patches of exposed dirt.
now, we�re watching with interest to see what develops. The fires of 2003
upset the balance of nature and the predator equilibrium is still adjusting.
We�re currently being overrun by squirrels, mice, and rabbits while their
natural predators have been slower to return. Hopefully things will
eventually even out and that fine-tuning will also solve the turkey