Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gould's Southwestern Wild Turkey

Wild Turkeys roaming through Ramsey Canyon, Sierra Vista, AZ; 4/9/2012.
Being from the the Midwest where Wild Turkeys are very common, it is not very surprising to see Wild Turkeys anywhere from in the middle of forests to strutting across a busy street with some nearby trees and bushes. However, if I didn't know prior to my visit to Ramsey Canyon that they existed in the Southwest, I would have been surprised when I saw Wild Turkeys, not just once, but three different times in completely different locations of the Canyon. These Southwestern Turkeys are known as the Gould's Wild Turkey and they are slightly larger than their northern relatives and also look slightly different. Gould's Wild Turkeys are one of five subspecies of Wild Turkeys in the country.
A Southwestern Wild Turkey, Ramsey Canyon, Sierra Vista, AZ; 4/9/2012.
The Gould's species that I observed had a lighter and warmer look to them. Their overall body is more brown (compared to the dark cool colors of the Northern species), and lighter back, rump, and tail feathers. These Turkeys I saw in Arizona also seemed to have redder faces, but I don't think that is a common identifying mark.  Check this link for more information about Gould's Wild Turkeys:
A Northern Wild Turkey, Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 5/23/2010.
The Northern Wild Turkeys (Above) that I have witnessed most of my life seem to be darker overall with grayish/blueish/greenish colorings, and their heads seem to be more bluish/grayish.

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