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Apr 24, 2013

King Township - great place for wild turkeys

Photos by BarrytheBirder
I photographed this male Wild Turkey on the 17th Sideroad of King Township on Sunday morning.   He was accompanied by a female and was displaying his tail for her, every minute or so, while I watched.   Wild Turkeys were extirpated in Ontario during the early 1900s as a result of habitat loss and over-hunting.   It was re-introduced to Ontario between 1984 and 1987, when 4,400 wild-caught birds from the U.S. were released.   The turkeys were released at 275 sites across Ontario and within 20 years their population had grown to 70,000 and despite hunting pressures, the population apparently continues to grow.   The introduced birds adapted very well to being near humans, although this is counter-productive for the turkeys during hunting season.   Courtship begins during March and April and the spring hunting season partially overlaps the breeding season.       Despite the hunting toll and nest predation by wild animals, Wild Turkeys are now locally common, year-round residents in King Township and it is a delight seeing them strut about the forests and fields.
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