May 05-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: May: May 05-07
Early season tourists    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Turkey trot    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 06:45 am:

In the past month Edie and I have seen wild turkeys on 3 occasions here in the Keweenaw. I understand that Eagle Harbor resident (and Pasty.NET member) Charlotte Catoni spotted this pair on the Marina road and made a quick telephone call to another Pasty.NET/Northpines member (and regular Pasty Cam contributor) Neil Harri, sending him chasing after them for a picture. Charlotte is a bit closer to celebrating a century, and figured he'd would have a better chance catching up to these two (though Neil's no spring chicken himself). While Wild turkeys are plentiful in several areas of the U.P., Neil said he's never seen them this far north before. With as many as we've spotted here on the Peninsula lately, I suspect a whole tour bus of these visitors has flocked to the area.

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 07:05 am:

Turkeys are plentiful in this area. They have really taken a good foot hold since the first plantings 20 or so years ago. They are very interesting to watch.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 07:22 am:

Are we ready for Thanksgiving yet?

By Roger Somero (Rsomero) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 07:33 am:

Bingo, good morning from San Jose!

By Jerry Johnson (Jerryjohnson62) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 08:59 am:

Hey Neil do you have room in the freezer, Thanksgiving is not to far away,warm in Florida again no spring just summer.Great pictures


By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 09:00 am:

Our DNR wildlife biologist tells me the Eastern turkey won't survive the winters this far North without artificial feeding. Maybe they made it because of the mild winter this year, or someone is bringing them up here. So this year, instead of having one for Thanksgiving dinner, you may be having one over for dinner.

By Ray Laakaniemi (Rlaakan) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 09:26 am:

If you ever get a chance to see a turkey fly, it is a hoot! We had them in our yard in East Tawas, and I clapped my hands, and Bingo! Straight up in the air .. like a big bird... and settled in a tree.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 09:38 am:

Wild turkeys are plentiful in our area & have been for a number of years. Sometimes, we have to stop to wait for some to cross the road (usually near a river or stream), etc. We have even seen them in town. I have not seen them here during the winter, that I can remember, though. It's possible that they have already migrated north for the summer?

By Greta Armata (Gretania) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 09:51 am:

We spotted several wild turkeys in Northern WI off of Hwy 51 just a couple of weeks ago. Couldn't believe they were so close to the road.

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 10:05 am:

From what I've seen on outdoor shows, these creatures are very sharp-eyed. The hunters have cover up almost even the eyeballs to be near them!

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 10:33 am:

There are a lot by me, one tried to be a hood ornament a couple weeks ago but decided to get out of the way when I hit the brakes. They are all over down the dirt road where my sons school is.

By P.Weed (Pweed) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 11:20 am:

We have a white turkey running around here!

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 12:03 pm:

Am I the only one that didn't get a "PastyCam secret decoder ring"?

I really don't want to sound like I'm complaining, and I mean nothing personal, but quite frequently someone will post a note here like this:

"Turkeys are plentiful in this area."
"We have a white turkey running around here!

… with absolutely no indication of where "this area" is, or where "here" is. Then hoping to discover where the author is located, I look at the author's profile record, to find no location information there either!


By Happy to be in the U.P. (Lahelo) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 12:12 pm:

FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash)
Maybe they don't want anybody to find out where "there area" is? (hee hee)
You may never know!! Have a pleasant day everyone!

By Happy to be in the U.P. (Lahelo) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 12:12 pm:

oops should read "their area" in it might be a secret!

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 12:16 pm:

The expansion of Wild Turkeys all over MI in recent years is incredible! Whether naturally or by being placed by DNR or private individuals! I'm thinking partially because old abandoned farmland has grown over with thick woody invasion in many areas. They are being seen even in many suburban areas down at this end of the state now! I have pics in my guest gallery of a flock in downtown Bellaire MI! When the gallery updates are completed I will have pics of a flock of 17 right outside our window in our yard! We are only about 25 miles out from the huge Detroit metro area! A flock is now present on Belle Isle in the Detroit River off downtown Detroit! No one seems to know how they got there! What's next? Will some be walking around Campus Martius or Grand Circus Park in Downtown Detroit!? Amazing! The Peregrine Falcons are nesting there and in many other citys in MI now. Not too many years ago, no one would have believed all this!

By Fran in GA (Francesinga) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 07:22 pm:

I thnk the problem probably stems from the DNR. Some years ago they brought in a quantity of deer into Chickamauga Battlefield in N.Ga.The herd has increased where they are venturing into town and even into the county where I live. The next venture was to bring in turkeys which multiplied like crazy till there were turkeys all over. I hear the latest is red foxes.

By Bob Jewell, Farmington Hills (Rjewell) on Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 07:51 pm:

Wild turkeys have spread overe much of the state but the DNR does not expect them to spread to the easter U.P.
Don't Shoot!
DNR: Local Turkeys Not Wild Birds
By Amy Polk

These turkeys, wading in the snow on the shoulder of Mackinac Trail, north of St. Ignace, resemble wild birds, but reportedly are part of domestic stocks that have been released or wandered away from their pens.

Turkeys are reported crossing local highways, and although they resemble their wild relatives, the Department of Natural Resources says they are most likely pen-raised birds released by a well-meaning farmer or sportsman, or strays from a farm.

"The DNR has supported expanding wild turkeys' range, but the Eastern Upper Peninsula apparently doesn't have suitable habitat for the bird to survive," noted Erynn Call, a wildlife biologist at the DNR field office in Sault Ste. Marie.

In 1993 the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) selected 25 wild turkeys for release in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. They were disease free and chosen for their hardiness to survive cold weather. They were released on Hiawatha Sportsmen's Club property near Engadine, but none of them survived, she said, and it was the last attempt by the DNR to introduce turkeys to the area.

The turkey is one of the largest birds in North America, and was once prolific in southern Michigan. When the forests were cleared at the turn of the last century, they virtually disappeared from the state. The DNR suspects unregulated hunting may have also played a role in wiping the bird out. The last recorded native turkey kill was in 1897, in Van Buren County.

Michigan wildlife biologists led an effort to reintroduce turkeys to Michigan in the 1950s. Wild birds were first released in southwestern Michigan, and subsequently in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. Helped by maturing forest regrowth as Michigan's woods began to recover from heavy lumbering, turkeys reestablished significant populations in the northern Lower Peninsula, with pockets of smaller populations further south. In the Upper Peninsula, the largest wild populations are found in the southwestern part of the peninsula, in Delta, Dickinson, and Menominee counties.

Turkeys seem to prefer a mix of hardwood forest, Ms. Call said, particularly white and red oak stands, with some conifers and open field areas. Acorns are key to their survival, she said. They also consume leftover grains on harvested fields, like corn, sorghum, buckwheat, and soybeans. Turkeys, she noted, need a lot of carbohydrates to survive Michigan winters.

The Eastern Upper Peninsula does not have much of the habitat turkeys like, she said, which is probably why they have not reestablished successfully here. The birds that have been seen around Lakeside Road in Cedarville, Goetzville, Ponchartrain Shores, and on Mackinac Trail are most likely pen-raised or descendent from domestic birds, Ms. Call said. The penraised turkeys are nearly indistinguishable from wild birds, she said, and have the same characteristics. Wild birds have a somewhat slimmer head, with less skin under the chin.

It is now turkey breeding season, so males have been seen sporting the typical bright red head that changes color from red, to blue, to white. Males can also be observed now puffing out their feathers, spreading their tails, and dragging their wings as a courtship display. Turkey hens lay eggs in April, and eggs hatch around late June. The birds spend the rest of the year foraging, first for insects, then for nuts and fruits in the fall and winter months. They do not migrate, and must find suitable cover and feed to survive the winter.

Ms. Call speculates that local turkeys have most likely survived Eastern Upper Peninsula winters through artificial feeding by residents. Food can be found at farms or bird feeders. The DNR does not recommend artificial turkey feeding because the birds can spread disease to native and wild birds.

Turkey hunting is not allowed in the Eastern Upper Peninsula counties of Chippewa, Luce, and Mackinac.

People can hunt turkeys in designated parts of the central and western Upper Peninsula, and in nearly every county of the northern Lower Peninsula. Hunters must apply for spring or fall turkey hunting permits through a drawing process. Information about the application process is at the DNR's Web site under the hunting section.

By Greta Jones (Urbanescapees) on Sunday, May 6, 2007 - 10:22 am:

This could be the pair I saw in our yard on Thursday. Nice shot, Neil.

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