IMG 5830
Let's Talk Turkey
Wildlife, Properties
by Eric Nunez
on November 1, 2023

Did you know turkeys can swim? They can! And they do it by kicking while keeping their tails spread and wings tucked. They are also fantastic flyers and often roost high up in trees. Moreover, they have impeccable eyesight and hearing, making them quite the challenge to hunt and bag.

Turkeys have been part of human history for centuries, dating back to Ancient Mexican periods. They can be found across most of the lower 48 states, Hawaii, Mexico, and Canada. Earlier this year, turkeys were seen boasting courtship displays at Rocks Ranch. Flocks were also spotted running and foraging through restoration areas at Watsonville Slough Farm. They are a prime example of how birds are descendants of dinosaurs—they look and run like little Velociraptors! Furthermore, wild turkeys are far different from livestock turkeys in terms of eating. Wild ones are leaner and inspire cooks and chefs to be more creative with preparation than domesticated ones. Wild turkey breast carnitas and liver pate and just a few recipes I have heard of.

So, this holiday season, enjoy a turkey, wild or not, and hit a trail at one of our public access properties and spread some holiday cheer. Who knows, maybe you’ll see a turkey!

P.S. I used to work as a wildlife biologist and have held rescued wild turkey eggs in my hands as the chicks were hatching. It was so cool!

References: Cornell Lab of Ornithology website and the show “Meat Eater.”