Turkeys and Heirlooms

This week’s blog was written by Liam B., a Gobblers and Bass alumni. Liam is a junior in high school who has attended the Wildlife Leadership Academy as both a student and an assistant team leader over the past two summers. He has participated in WLA mainly due to to his interest in wildlife overall, and notable ornithology. He plans to attend college and afterwards pursue a career with the game commission.

Recently, my father returned from Iowa after helping my grandparents move out of their lake house. He brought back various items from this event to share with family. Among these were two very interesting items; one being a full turkey fan with a beard and spurs, and the other a trophy with a turkey beard and spurs. They were from a hunting trip in May 2003. This was interesting, as I was unaware that my grandfather ever hunted turkey, since I have seen pictures of him hunting deer, elk and bear, and he hunted pheasant with my dad, but never turkey. I personally may never hunt turkey, but it is still a part of my family history that fascinates me.

The turkey fan from my grandfather. It has a complete fan, a spur and the beard.

Speaking of turkeys, this summer, the local turkey flock was very active. I saw five hens with their chicks frequently in the backyard near the apple trees, but they were especially adventurous this year., I often saw them in the front yard and garden. Their frequency around my house makes sense, as our property has much of what turkeys would want during the summer. There is both a large amount of ground cover to forage and tree cover. Near the forested area in the backyard, there is a running body of water. This provides ideal habitat for both raising chicks and for the adults to roost in the fall and winter. In Iowa, where my grandparents live, it is surprisingly similar to here, as they lived in a heavily forested area near a reservoir and there is a large amount of agricultural land around them. This habitat, though not the best for younger turkeys, is ideal for adult turkeys during the fall and winter seasons. It is quite interesting that despite being 1,000 miles apart, the habitats in Pennsylvania and Iowa are surprisingly similar.

The photo used in this blog belongs to the author.