SOLF Presents: Turkey Time

The first in a new series of guest posts by the Southborough Open Land Foundation

Above: A local group of turkeys at Town Center Plaza. Apparently even they need their Dunkin Donuts fix! (photo contributed by SOLF)

Welcome to the first post in a new series focused on appreciating nature in Southborough from the Southborough Open Land Foundation (SOLF), a non-profit dedicated to preserving and stewarding natural resources here in town.

Let’s talk Turkey!  Now that the holidays are over, the local turkey population has come back out of hiding, and wants us to know a few things about them.

As you probably know, wild turkeys can often be seen out and about here in Southborough, in groups as large as 20 or 30.  But for longtime residents of New England, they can be a surprising sight. As recently as 50 years ago, there were no wild turkeys left in New England at all.

Through careful reintroduction programs in the 60s and 70s, capturing and relocating turkeys back to New England, we once again have a thriving turkey population.  With few remaining predators, historic farmlands returning to open spaces and forest, and hunting restrictions, turkey populations are exploding once again.  Massachusetts now has an estimated 35,000 turkeys!

Their varied diet of worms, grubs, nuts, seeds, and just about any human food left out lets them survive year-round, especially important since they don’t migrate, so you can see them any time of year.  Although they are ground-nesters, they use their limited flight capabilities to roost in trees, greatly enhancing their safety from predators.

Due to their fearless nature, and the aggression of males toward bright colors and  reflective surfaces, turkeys aren’t necessarily a welcome sight.  (They don’t hate your car – they just aren’t fans of the turkey they see reflected in the door!) Viewing is best enjoyed from a distance. :) And finally – no need to feed them! They are very well adapted to find food year round, and it’s best to not encourage their comfort around people.

Have a good photo or story from a local turkey encounter? Let us know!

Want to learn more about SOLF, or volunteer or donate?  Check out our site, we’d love to hear from you.

Brett Peters, Trustee
SOLF – Southborough Open Land Foundation

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Beth Melo
1 year ago

I’m excited by SOLF’s new guest contribution to the blog. As I told Brett, I’m sure that many longtime readers miss the nature posts and photos that the original blog editor (Susan) used to share from her backyard and around town.
This first topic also reminds me of a story I posted several years ago, prompted by reader interest in a pair of wild turkeys that used to hang out on Main Street. If you’re interested in that flashback with reader commentary about their interactions and favorite nicknames, click here.

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