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The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about what is happening in the natural world in our neighborhood. Bugs, buds, birds - each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
So yesterday I saw a local wild turkey flock down in Hayward, CA. Two large toms were strutting and displaying and one of them was engaging in wind drumming. This is normally courtship behavior. This is odd, as I will explain below the orange bagel dog.

The data summarized:


Hayward, CA
September 21, 2012
Male wild turkeys displaying and engaging in courtship behavior

So What?


A brief review of online sources indicates that the normal mating season for wild turkeys is from February through April. I've been seeing this flock at a specific location for years now, they come and go, commuting between a handful of neighboring habitats. The acorns are dropping at the specific site in question and that's why they're there now.

Could this flock have its own timetable? This is what I reported in the 3/11/2011 Daily Bucket:

Three big, clearly dominant Toms were in full display, tails up and spread, wings down, head back, etc. Only one, however, was drumming and the others were clearly deferring to it in everything, but hanging very close.  Two more large toms followed at a moderate distance and did not display at all. They did, however, chase and harass two yet smaller, possibly juvenile, toms. They were clearly defending their rank or position as junior varsity, which saved the big toms the effort of bothering with anything but being in charge. The females ignored the whole show and scrabbled in the leaf litter for snacks.
That is nearly exactly what I saw going on Friday with the same flock, but only two toms displaying instead of three.

It could just be harem maintenance or dominance behavior, but that is a boatload of energy expenditure if it is being done on a regular basis, and I have read nothing to indicate that it is.

Your Turn


OK, it is time for your contributions, whatever you are seeing going on in nature in your area (and please identify your area). Also, any light you can shed on my out-of-season strutting turkeys would be appreciated.
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