Gobblers are in their winter cohorts, and it makes you think about turkey hunting for several reasons. First, it’s still fall turkey season until January 31, so if you’ve got a permit, there’s time to get a big one. And secondly, while feeding, the toms even now will occasionally strut, spar, and gobble, suggesting the spring season that starts in a few more months. It’s fun to watch them and think of spring mornings.
These are eastern turkeys in Riley County, and the small flock includes a number of mature birds that will disperse as breeding season arrives. Like all wild gobblers, the iridescent feathers of Easterns literally shine when sunlight hits them just right. But there’s a special, coppery beauty to this subspecies that especially calls for a camera.
A bachelor band of turkeys always has a tough guy, and if you watch long enough, it will hassle some subordinate male. I’m always surprised how long the bullying goes on. I watched one tom in this bunch circle and bother another for more than 30 minutes without stopping. The bickering pair finally left the flock and disappeared into the landscape, while the others, smarter, filled their crops.