Wild Turkey Hen and Chicks

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Wild turkey hen and chicks crossing the road

Wild Turkey Hen and Chicks crossing a road

creative commons by Kevin Cole

6 Apr 2012


This past Photo of the Week announces that Spring has officially arrived and with it lots of new life. If you are traveling the backroads of Central California, the sight in the photo above is one that you will likely see.

Turkeys are usually seen in open woodlands, that is, areas with brush or trees interspersed with open pastures.

They are gregarious and we've seen flocks of 10-20 or more at times crossing the road or nearby.

They're not great flyers, but they do well enough when they feel threatened. If you happen to encounter a hen and her chicks on the road, she'll likely lead the group to safety in the tall grass along the roadway. If you are familiar with the eastern variety of wild turkey, you will notice that those found here in Central California are not as dark nor quite as large.

Unlike some other birds, the little hatchlings (properly called poults, but chicks or even peeps works) are out of the nest a day after hatching. Quail hatchlings do the same, and they are really small and cute to see running about with their mothers.

That's one of the great benefits of taking back roads - slowing down your pace and being able to see the great variety of wildlife that is here on the Central Coast.

This photo was taken at the El Chorro Regional Park, halfway between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay on Highway 1.

If you're looking to camp, hike or picnic, this is a great place to do it. We've taken refuge here, even mid-summer, after finding the beach too windy, foggy and cold. It's just a bit inland and somewhat sheltered from the sharpness that can sometimes be found at the coast.

And by the way, the El Chorro park is also home to the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. The garden has interesting displays of Mediterranean plants and the climate zones of the Central Coast, as well as firesafe landscaping for your home.

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