Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Turkeys in the Fencerow

A camera trap in a fencerow can capture all sorts of interesting wildlife. One balmy morning in March I checked a camera trap that’s been in a fencerow for quite some time.

This fencerow separates two fields that were once planted to crops, later one was used as a pasture for a handful of beef cattle while the other was maintained in hay to provide winter fodder. The fencerow has long had trees: red and white oak, hickory, black cherry, black walnut and white ash. The white ash has succumbed to the emerald ash borer, some dead trees still stand, but most have fallen. For about 20 years there have been no cattle in the pasture and no hay has been cut.

As in much of Pennsylvania, autumn olive, an invasive shrub from Asia, has become established along both sides of the fencerow. That border of shrubs has expanded the fencerow’s width to 30-50 feet.

The oaks, hickories, black cherries and autumn olive produce an abundance of fruit and nuts that attract a wide variety of wildlife. Among the wildlife the camera trap had captured was a flock of about 20 wild turkeys that moved through the fencerow feeding as they went –

                Turn your speaker on if you want to hear turkey talk.

The turkeys spent a little over 14 minutes scratching and pecking to find seeds and invertebrates. Last winter there was little snow, no icy crust on what snow there was, and above average temperatures so wild turkeys had an easy time.

By the flock will soon disperse as breeding season arrives. The toms are gobbling and gathering a band of hens which, after they’ve bred, will further disperse to build a nest on the ground and lay their eggs.

I've begun a new blog, In Town and On the Road, please take a look at the first post. If you enjoy In Forest and Field, fear not it will continue with its weekly posts.


  1. I've been seeing wild turkeys just about every hike I take lately. Must be the time of year to be out and about! Love your post as always. It's a treat!

  2. Enjoyed that! Enjoyed your new blog too; good luck with it.

  3. Beautiful capture - how nice to see a Turkey in its natural habitat. Thanks for sharing with all of us. Be well!


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