Winter Drags On

It has been a very long winter. My front lawn disappeared on December 6 and today the snow there is still two feet deep. Despite my aversion to cold, I have managed to take a few wintery pictures, and I must admit that a quiet walk in softly falling snow makes our Canadian winter almost tolerable. But enough is enough!

While prowling around the southwestern Ontario countryside this winter, I have been amazed to see flocks of wild turkeys feeding in farmers fields. The birds are wary and they quickly disperse when humans get too close.  I used a long lens to photograph the two males shown below just before they vacated the area.

For centuries Ontario was home to the Eastern Wild Turkey, but it disappeared from the province in the early 1900s as a result of habitat loss and unregulated hunting.  Early attempts to repopulate suitable habitat with birds raised on game farms were unsuccessful, but in 1984, a new approach was adopted. Wild birds that had been trapped in Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, and Tennessee were released in southern Ontario. This restoration project was highly successful, and within a few years, the wild turkey population was quite healthy.  It is estimated that there are now about 100,000 birds in the province, and the population has spread as far north as Algonquin Park.

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