It is rare to see wild turkeys courting and even rarer for them to let anyone near. While driving to shoot turtles and frogs, we spotted a pair of turkeys coupling in a field next to an old office building. The turtle and frog shoot turned out to be a bust. But, this couple was fun to watch. A lover’s quarrel slowed the activity as she “chirped” at the poor guy.
A little while later they reconciled, and… well, you know, foreplay.
Would you let a photographer this close while you were making love? On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t answer that.
What Does the Turkey Courtship Display Look Like?
To attract females during mating season, a male turkey will start the display by fanning the feathers on his tail. These feathers are usually 12 to 15 inches long. The mature males have feathers that are all one length, while juvenile males have shorter feathers along the edges of the fan.
After the fan of feathers is up, the male will ruffle all the feathers on the rest of his body. This gives the appearance that the turkey is larger than he actually is. The male will then lower its wings so the feathers are touching the ground. The male turkey will then walk around a female occasionally grunting and vibrating her body. This will continue, gradually increasing in intensity until the female finally submits.
from “habitat tracker” website of the Florida State University, Tallahassee Museum