The Fascinating Osceola and Gould’s Wild Turkeys

Osceola Wild Turkeys

These Beauties Hang Out with Alligators, Water Moccasins, Mosquitoes and Diamondback Rattlers!

Of all the subspecies  these are thought to be the most beautiful.  They have more golden and green body feathers.  Perhaps because Osceola’s call the Florida swamps ‘home,’ their legs, spurs, tails and beards are longer than average. ‘Pure’ Osceola’s only live in southern Florida.  Because Eastern wild turkeys also live in Florida, some biologists consider all the turkeys as hybrids and refer to them as “the Florida subspecies.”

What Makes the Osceola Unique

These birds prefer to roost over water in cypress trees.  Their habitat includes hardwood swamps, palmetto grass lands and live oaks. When gobblers want to strut their stuff, they fly to dry land near their roosts.  Because of the difficult habitat of Osceola’s, non-natives find hunting these beautiful birds difficult, dangerous * and expensive.

Gould’s Wild Turkey

We know little about this subspecies other than it is the same species as our

Efforts to Introduce Gould's into Arid Areas of the US Have Been Hampered for 3 Reasons!

domestic turkey. Although the largest of 5 turkey types, Gould’s have the smallest numbers.

What Makes the Gould’s Unique

These turkeys live mostly in the dry Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.  A few are found in extreme southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

Biologists tell us that Gould’s habits are more like Merriam’s than any of the others.  Because of where they live, Gould’s are viewed as  more wild and secretive.

Moving Gould’s Into the US

Because the US has large tracts of land too arid for Merriam’s, they have worked with the Mexican government to move more Gould’s into the US.  However, this plan has been slow, at best.

First, Gould’s thrive in extremely remote regions of Mexican mountains.  Second, there’s the age-old problem of 2 governments working together.

The US requires a quarantine of these birds and captured wild birds do not respond well to quarantine.

Finally, the US government wants to introduce these birds to areas free of other subspecies, so the Gould’s can grow a “pure” population.


* Dangerous — Osceola’s live amongst alligators, water moccasins, mosquitoes and diamondback rattlers!  Under certain conditions, all 4 can be lethal.  😉


Next Time: More on the 5 Turkey Subspecies


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Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 6:04 am  Comments (1)  
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