Wild Turkeys On the Move-Happy Thanksgiving 2007

The last few years I’ve noticed a flock of wild Wild Turkeys On the Move-Happy Thanksgiving 2007turkeys clustered on Albany, Oregon street corners like wayward youth. I half expect to see cigarettes dangling from their beaks. Local news recently filmed wild turkeys in Eugene, OR, perching on roofs, digging in gardens, and lending a touch of wildlife. In general they are seen strutting their stuff and of course are safe and well fed in city limits. The neighborhood was split between those who would like to be rid of them and those concerned they might not be getting enough to eat.
The topic of wild turkeys came up in two garden talks this last year and I learned a bit from my audience. Gardeners don’t seem to like these turkeys in their garden. They eat most of what grows and leave a mess behind. Furthermore, I now know wild turkeys are not native to Oregon but are a transplanted subspecies from the Rio Grande valley that has adapted well or another subspecies, the Merriam’s turkey, native to the Ponderosa forests of New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.
As with most non-native game introductions this is done to facilitate hunting. Here’s a quote from the Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife. “Wild turkeys provide significant recreational opportunity and economic benefit to Oregon residents. During the spring 2003 season, 14,152 hunters pursued wild turkeys in Oregon.” If you want to read more please go here.
A very happy Thanksgiving to you from all us at Nichols Garden Nursery. There is much to celebrate including the bounty of our gardens. Our table will be graced with a well stuffed turkey along with other foods of the Americas. Much the same menu as I posted in 2006, although we’ll add green beans this year, and skip the potatoes.