In Florida we can see turkeys often at Myakka State Park in Sarasota County before the sun sets and along River Road - they are a beautiful bird.
The Florida wild turkey are also known as the Osceola. The Osceola turkey was named after a Seminole Indian chief in the 1800s.
Osceola turkeys can only be found in the state of Florida and for that reason alone many hunters consider these birds a great prize because of their unique distribution.
The Osceola turkey has a long, dark fan-shaped tail.
Somewhat similar to the eastern wild turkey, but smaller and darker in color, the Florida turkey can weigh between 6 and 15 pounds.
The Osceola turkey also has fewer white colors in its wings and the white bars in the feathers are narrow and irregular.
Black feathers are more plentiful on the Osceola turkey with more iridescent green- and red-colored feathers and a lot less bronze than the eastern turkey. They also have a long, dark fan-shaped tail.
Merry Beth Ryan, a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, can be reached at www.merrybethryanphotography.com, by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone (941) 544-5023.
Florida turkey coloration and behavior are ideal camouflage for the flat pine woods, oak and palmetto hammocks as well as swamp land. Turkeys prefer a moist, marshy environment.
Osceola turkeys eat a variety of plant and animal matter. As the turkey ages plant matter becomes its primary food source. About 90 percent of a mature turkey's diet is grass, vines, acorns, buds, seeds and a variety of fruits.
Turkeys have excellent eyesight and a sharp sense of hearing. The flock's social pecking order features the most dominant bird at the top and the least dominant at the bottom.
These turkeys communicate using a wide variety of vocal calls that includes gobbles, clucks, yelps and whistles. Strutting is also a form of communication used by make turkeys to attract females and intimidate rival male turkeys.
Turkeys also make for a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy this special time with family and friends this holiday season.