We were just talking about how we would love to see some different animals. It’s not that I don’t love our deer and elk, but it would be nice to expand my wildlife photos. Fortunately these turkey were very accommodating.
Turkey are generally very elusive. I don’t know how many times we have spotted them and I trekked over the forest trying to chase them down, and never saw them again. Now that I think about it, that sounds pretty silly.
These turkey (we saw 2), were most likely males. You can see what looks like a tuft of elk hair sticking out of their chest, called a beard, which means they were probably males. Although, oddly, about 10% of females also have the beards. They also had blue cheeks and a dark almost metallic chest which are other indicators of a male.
Most turkey found in AZ are Merriam turkeys. However, these were the largest turkey’s I have ever seen… most we see are much scrawnier. A Gould turkey is more rare as they became mostly extinct and are only slowly making a comeback in AZ, NM, and Mexico. The Gould turkey is slightly larger than the Merriam turkey, and has white tipped tail feathers, which these have.
Whichever variety they were, I has thrilled to have the opportunity to photograph them.