Backyard Visitors

I often see a couple of hen turkeys strolling through the backyard together, checking for spilled seed under the bird feeders or probing for goodies in the wildflower garden. But yesterday when I looked out in the backyard, there were a couple of very large turkeys that looked too big to be hens, just loafing and taking a break in the shade of the walnut tree.

wild turkey males

One was a little more timid than the other.

I would have thought these were females, but they appear to have remnants of red wattles, and a slight bluish cast to their neck skin.

wild turkey males

That bird (on the left) is either a hen on steroids, or a post-breeding season male. ¬†It doesn’t have the typical beard hanging down its breast, though.

wild turkey males-

Usually females don’t have the assortment of colorful feathers the male does.

wild turkey male

And still this one rests in the shade while its partner pecks at this and that and then finally moseys down the hill to the neighbor’s backyard.

Does anyone know if tom turkeys lose their beard, wattles, and iridescent plumage in the non-breeding season?