The Osceola or Florida wild turkey is one of the most popular game animals in the world. In 1890, ornithologist W.E.D.Scott named this species of wild turkey after Seminole leader Chief Osceola.
Osceola wild turkeys are found only on the Florida peninsula and are much smaller than farm-raised Thanksgiving birds. Adult males are known as “gobblers” or “toms,” weigh up to 25 pounds and reach an average height of 3.5 feet. Adult females are known as “hens,” weigh between 8 and 14 pounds and reach the same average height as the males. Hens lay an average of 8 to 12 eggs in mid-April that incubate for 26 to 28 days.
This turkey is very vocal. You can hear its signature yelps, gobbles and clucks up to a mile away. Its sounds serve as an attractant to both males and females. Gobblers “strut” by puffing out their feathers, spreading their tails and dragging their wings. Males typically have a beard or tuft of hair growing from the center of their breast; however, 10 to 20 percent of female turkeys have one as well, but it’s usually shorter.
FUN TURKEY FACT: Juvenile male turkeys are known as “jakes” and all young turkeys are known as “poults.”
Read the full November 2019 SECO News online.