|Wild turkey -- Meleagris gallopavo|
Male turkeys are called “gobblers” because of their famous call, which is their version of a rooster’s crow. It’s a loud, shrill, descending, throaty jumble of sound that lasts about a second. Males often gobble from their treetop roosts, where the sound carries better than on the ground. They use it to attract females and in response to other males—sometimes one male’s call can lead to a group of others joining in. Both males and females cackle as they fly down from roosts, give very short, soft purring calls while traveling on foot, and give a long series of yelps to reassemble a flock after it has become scattered. Young turkeys whistle three or four times to locate the flock when lost.
To find wild turkeys it helps to get up early in the morning, when flocks of these large birds are often out foraging in clearings, field edges, and roadsides. Keep an eye out as you drive along forest edges, particularly areas with nut-bearing trees such as oak and hickory. You’ll usually find turkeys on the ground, but don’t be surprised if you run across a group of turkeys flying high into their treetop roosts at the end of the day.
According to the observations listed on eBird: The largest concentration of wild turkeys in Southern California is in San Diego County from Vista south to El Cajon and east to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Happy Thanksgiving from The Backyard Birder!!