Yes, We Can Fly

Male wild turkey in flight (photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren via Wikimedia Commons)

On Thanksgiving 2018

Despite their size and ungainly appearance, wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) can fly.  They have to be airborne twice a day to get to and from their roosts in trees.

Most of us never see them fly but here’s some indirect evidence. The wild turkey below was photographed on Thompson Island in the bay east of Boston, Massachusetts. The photographer’s mobile phone provided GPS.

Wild turkey on an island (photo by Sophia Lai via Wikimedia Commons)

Here’s the wild turkey’s location.

Google map of wild turkey’s location (image from Google maps)

He didn’t swim. He had to fly.  But the wild turkey’s flight range is only 1.6km = 1 mile. 

My guess is that he landed at the south end Thompson Island, 0.83 miles from the mainland. At 60 miles per hour — yes, that’s the wild turkey’s top speed — it would have taken him less than a minute. 

Who knew that wild turkeys could move that fast?

(photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren via Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)

5 thoughts on “Yes, We Can Fly

  1. I’ve only seen them fly short distances in our neighborhood and had no idea they could fly that far in one go. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Kate!
    P.S. Thanks for the alert a few days ago about the NOVA program on peregrine falcons. It was breathtaking.

  2. I had some wild turkey’s in my backyard and the dog I was watching ran towards them and one jumped the fence, but the other flew up and over our two story house. I ran around to see him – but he was already gone.

  3. I’ve seen about 50 wild turkeys fly to roost in trees in the evening up along the upper end of Mahoning Lake (where it’s really just a deep crrek). Impressive sight to see.

  4. I remember seeing or reading a story on the news a good many years back about a wild turkey that apparently took off from Mt. Washington headed for downtown only to fatally strike a building and nearly ht a woman on the sidewalk below.

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