Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wild Turkey Sighting

On the drive home from work yesterday afternoon, I had a Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) fly across the road in front of me just east of where West Virginia Route 9 crosses the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Always exciting to see turkeys in flight! These birds are so large and bulkty-looking that they don't look like they should be able to fly at all, but are actually quite adept at doing so when the need arises. Over a period of four months in the fall of 1946, biologist Fred A. Glover (1947) clocked five different Wild Turkeys flying at average speeds of 33 miles/hour (range 29-42 miles/hour) in West Virginia.

Source: Glover, Fred A. 1947. Flight speed of Wild Turkeys. Auk 64:623-624.

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