Turkey tussle


Early one morning, a tent that we had pitched in the back yard was lurching drunkenly from side to side. The cause: two young male turkeys, locked together in combat. They appeared to be stuck in an intimate embrace, each one eating the other’s beak:

Turkeys fighting

They took turns in being the dominant one, the winner forcing the loser’s head right back as if at any moment a cervical vertebra would dislocate.

The overall impression was of a strange unfamiliar beast with two eyes, one above the other, two necks and two bodies. The locking mechanism was pretty similar to this Bollywood screen kiss, each actor mouthing the other’s lip:

Clearly, though, these turkeys were not in love, but at war. At first I thought they were unable to extricate themselves, but eventually I realized that was wrong. Like a pair of Siamese twins they skidded around the grass, bumping into the tent and nearby chairs, all in total silence. (The two videos below do not seem to be playing reliably, so I apologize if you have trouble.)

They kept it up for about ten minutes, then separated, and returned to feeding, apparently none the worse for wear. My reading suggests this behavior is quite common in mating season, but this was mid-June, some time after mating season was over, so I suspect they were young birds, sparring.

Those wrestlers on TV might be able to learn a trick or two.

4 thoughts on “Turkey tussle”

  1. Interesting, I hope they didn’t hurt each other. I liked the peeping song of a bird in the back round. I recently acquired some beautiful turkey feathers from the side of the road from when a poor turkey was killed by a car. I always have a pang in the heart when I see these lethal encounters with cars and wild life.


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