ALEXANDRIA, VA – No one knows for sure how many there are but at least one turkey is finding itself the centerpiece of a few photo lenses around town.
This week Manuel Cordovez posted on social media a clear and bright photo of what most people are saying is indeed a wild turkey that he spotted behind Duncan Avenue in the Del Ray portion of Alexandria, Virginia.
According to an article in Bloomberg.com, “There are between 6 million and 7 million of the gobblers across the U.S. today, and while they generally live in parks and forests, they are increasingly finding their way into the built environment.”
Also this week, a Fairlington resident snapped a photo of another wild turkey (or it it the Del Ray bird gone visiting?) while walking in her neighborhood which sits along the border of Alexandria and Arlington, and she remarked, “So…my dog and I had an amazing animal encounter on the south side of Fairlington tonight…a TURKEY! Never have seen one in the neighborhood before! Has anyone else seen him? He was running along being chased by a couple crows and then flew up in a tree. My dog was amazed!”
The Audobon Society says, “The turkeys may be out and about because it is mating season. Courtship begins in late March and early April. Egg laying commences around mid-April and peak of nest incubation is normally the first week of May (May 5). Hatching takes place 28 days later, normally during the first week of June.”
If you are wondering just what you are seeing next time you stumble upon a big brown bird in your yard or pathway, know your wild turkey facts: Virginia’s wild turkeys weigh approximately 17-19 pounds. Males are dark brown with iridescent, bronze highlights, have an unfeathered red and blue head and neck, dangling red wattles and a hairy beard hanging from their breast. The females are smaller, darker in color, have smaller wattles and are less showy.
Experts guess there are around 180,000 wild turkeys in Virginia, and that seeing them in urban areas is somewhat rare. If you really want to see a rafter of turkeys (that’s what a bunch of them is called) , their highest populations can be found in the Tidewater, South Mountain, and South Piedmont regions.