Photographing Wild Turkeys In The Mountains

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Wild Turkey standing at attention, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahWild Turkey standing at attention – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’m always glad to see and photograph Wild Turkeys and most of the time I see them more than I can photograph them because they are often too far away but some days it does work out that I can have them in my viewfinder and click the shutter release.

Wary Wild Turkey, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahWary Wild Turkey – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday was one of those days when I not only spotted them but had them in my viewfinder too up in the mountains as they quietly foraged in a clearing in the woods.

An over the shoulder look from a Wild Turkey, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahAn over the shoulder look from a Wild Turkey – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

While most of the turkeys fed it seemed that for a bit at least one of the large birds was keeping a wary eye out for any dangers that might appear.

Woodland Wild Turkey, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahWoodland Wild Turkey – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

At times the turkey were almost too close for my normal bird photography set up which is my 500mm lens and the 1.4x TC attached so I clipped a few feet on some of my photos of these birds.

Wild Turkey in front of a gnarly juniper, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahWild Turkey in front of a gnarly juniper – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 800, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I couldn’t tell what the turkeys were eating while they foraged but it might have been forbs or grasses because this photo showed grasses in the turkey’s bill.

Wild Turkey close up, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahWild Turkey close up – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 800, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I only had a few minutes with these Wild Turkeys but they actually made my day a bit brighter just by having them in my viewfinder.

Life is good.

Mia

Wild Turkey facts and information:

Meleagris gallopavo

  • Wild Turkeys are large, plump birds with long necks and small heads.
  • The Wild Turkey is North America’s largest native upland game bird. Males can weigh in excess of 25 pounds or more.
  • Unlike their domesticated counterparts wild turkeys are agile in flight. They fly up into trees at night to roost in safety from ground predators.
  • Wild Turkey hens lay between 8 to 20 eggs in a brood. The incubation period is 27-28 days. Only the females care for the young, also called poults.
  • Males display during the breeding season to attract hens.
  • A group of Wild Turkeys can be called a “crop”, “gang”, “dole”, “posse” and “raffle”.
  • Wild Turkeys are resident throughout much of the continental U.S. to extreme southern Canada and south to inland Mexico. They inhabit oak and pine forests and in the west they can be found in forests containing juniper and pine.
  • Wild Turkeys are omnivorous, they consume nuts, acorns, berries, grains, roots and insects. They will also eat small reptiles.
  • Wild Turkeys live up to 9 years

7 Comments

  1. Marty K November 14, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    They are such striking birds!

  2. LSClem November 14, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    I live in the suburbs of SW CT, an area with high rates of Lyme Disease. I love seeing turkeys foraging here as they eat ticks. Had a hen with 4 chicks in my neighborhood this Summer. So glad to have them!

  3. Pepe Forte November 14, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Wonderful series of pics Mia. Thanks.

  4. Charles Karaian November 14, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Great reflection of light in the eye. That’s hard to achieve in my experience.

  5. Trudy Brooks November 14, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Thanks for the photos. They are really nice. I am lucky to see wild Turkeys almost every day, as they are all around the county side and travel thru the city. Several groups have been spotted down town on main street. What fun. They come thru the yards on my street once in a while. I don’t have a good camera but fun to have pictures of them. Now we will be having one on our tables soon. Not the wild ones.

  6. Patty Chadwick November 14, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I just finished a wonderful book by Joe Hutto about a seaon in the flatwoods of Florida. Lgrvi. , n he spent with two batches of incubated, imprinted wild turkeys(beautifully illustrated with graphite drawings and color photos)…I love the way the book is in journal formay…easy to read in short sessions. Your photos are great!!!

  7. Patty November 14, 2018 at 7:42 am

    I really enjoy seeing Turkeys. They have so many colors in their feathers!

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