The Bird Book/Turkeys


TURKEYS. Family MELEAGRID^E

310. WILD TURKEY.

Meleagris gallopavo silvestris.

Range. Eastern United States from southern Middle States south to central Florida and west to the Missippi Valley and eastern Texas. These magnificent birds, which once ranged over the whole of eastern United States, are being yearly confined to a smaller range, chiefly because of the destruction of their natural covers, and from per

Buffi

secution by hunters. They are generally very wary birds and either escape by running through the underbrush or by flying as soon as a human being appears in sight. Their nests are made under tangled growths of underbrush or briers. Their eggs, which are laid during April and May, range from eight to sixteen in number. They are Sag-e Hen o f a buff color sprinkled and spotted with brown Wild Turkey . gh gize 2 55 x 1 9Q Data . Hammond, La., April 17, 1897. Fifteen eggs. Nest hollow scraped in the ground under a bush on the edge of a pine woods; lined with grasses and leaves. Collector, E. A. McIlhenny.

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310a. MERRIAM'S TURKEY. Meleagris gallopavo merriami.

Range. Southwestern United . Slates, .from. Colorado ^outh. .timrngh. western Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico.

This variety is abundant throughout its range, its nesting habits and eggs being practically indistiguishable from those of the eastern form.

190

GALLINACEOUS BIRDS

31 Ob. FLORIDA TURKEY. Meleagris gallopavo osceola.

Range. Southern Florida.

A small variety of the Wild Turkey, about 42 inches long. They breed in the tangled thickets in the higher portions of the southern half of Florida, laying from ten to sixteen eggs of a brighter and deeper buff color than the northern variety, and smaller; size 2.30 x 1.75. Their nests are generally lined with grasses and occasionally with feathers. The female sits very close when incubating and will not fly until almost trod upon, trusting to her variegated markings to conceal her from observation. Greenish buff

310c. Rio GRANDE TURKEY. Meleagris gallopavo intermedia.

Range. Lowlands of the southern parts of Texas and northern Mexico. A sub-species which differs slightly in plumage and not at all in nesting habits or eggs from the common Wild Turkey.