Posted by: atowhee | October 22, 2021


“A turkey a day keeps the boredom away…” Didn’t get my turkeys in the rain today so I did so research instead.

You can click here to read a piece on the birds for the Salem Reporter online.

Further digging went beyond the info I gleaned from files at Oregon Fish & Wildlife. I checked the Salem Christmas Count records. Starting in the 1960s–no turkeys. Then suddenly somebody saw one during count week–1997! Nothing…until 20 years later when turkeys became a annual figure, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. They have clearly arrived, and stayed.

I do short radio bits on birds for KCRB-FM (NPR) in Sonoma County. I found their first Christmas Count turkey sighting came in 1990. Now eBird has recent reports of flocks of 35 birds in Sonoma, and the range map shows turkeys are countywide but not in upland forests. A good garden or oak grove in the park is always safer–fewer shotguns.

Along with White Pelicans, the male turkey is the heavyweight champ among Oregon birds–16 pounds. If the California Condor starts ranging thia far north it will win–females over 20 pounds!

This is what it was like living among them in Ashland. Once the young could fly a flock was in our garden almost daily. They would look in the windows and gobble until I gave them peanuts. Not a behavior I would now recommend.

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