The Senses of Turkeys

One of my favorite comments about turkeys is that their brains are the size of a walnut.  However, don’t get too cocky, they seem to use every ounce of their brain matter to stay out of your clutches!

The Senses of Turkeys

A Wild Turkey

Over the years, biologists have studied turkeys and have some surprising findings.  First, their sense of smell is about as strong as ours.

Their hearing is no better than ours. However, their eyesight is another matter.  Because of the particular placement of their eyes, their peripheral vision is excellent.

Turkeys, Deer and UV Brighteners on Clothing

In a nutshell, turkeys and deer see colors!   They can see the UV brighteners in hunter’s clothing.  Why are there UV brighteners in those clothes?

When all clothing was made in the US, there was no problem.  UV brighteners were not added to hunting clothes.  Most textiles are made in China now, and they did not know to keep UV brighteners out of hunting fabrics and clothes.

The solution is obvious: Only buy hunting clothing without UV brighteners! And that’s the problem — even companies that promise they have added no brighteners — parts of the garment (pockets, lapels, etc.), may have been treated before sale to the clothing manufacturer.

What Can You Do?

1)  Use your “old” hunting clothes – that say “Made in the US.”  Not too great a solution because:  As the camo pattern fades, you are less protected from a turkey (or deer’s) eyesight.

2) Use the product touted to “remove” the UV brighteners from hunting clothes.  Most folks say this works, although it is an expensive alternative.

3) Listen to what else the biologists say about (specifically) turkey’s eyesight.

What Biologists Say

Turkeys and deer see differently than we do and they do see the UV brighteners. It makes the hunter look like a bright blue blob.

Biologists have proven that turkeys are not startled by bright colors — ONLY COLORS THAT MOVE!

They’ve placed bright objects in front of these big birds. In one test, they put bright orange hats on turkey decoys. Turkeys strolled amongst them with no concern — unless the orange hats moved!

Biologists theorize that bright colors abound in nature. Turkeys are used to random brights and darks in their habitat. They are only troubled by movement — not the colors.

Next Time: More on this Issue!

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This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Survival Skills Turkeys Use to Stay Out of Your Oven

 

180px-meleagris_gallopavo_wild_turkey1

Turkey Survival Tricks 101 *

 

Turkeys have brains the size of a walnut. But don’t let that fool you — they use every trick they can to survive a meeting with a hunter.

Gobblers are Sociable

The group provides warnings of danger for its members.  The good news is that there are lots of  ‘false alarms.’

Ultimately, each gobbler is responsible for his own safety.  When an alarm sounds, everyone pauses and checks the nature of the danger.

If the bird does not see any danger, he returns to feeding.  The bad news is that turkeys lack a single gene of curiosity! If the noise concerns him, the gobbler leaves.

The Gobbler’s Senses

The sense of smell in a turkey is about the same as ours.  Their hearing is not much better than ours. However, their eyesight is another matter.

Because of the particular placement of their eyes, their peripheral vision is excellent.

Turkeys & UV-Brighteners on Clothes

Frankly, I hate to open this can of worms again.   Deer and turkeys see colors. They are adept at seeing the UV-Brighteners in hunter’s clothing.

If you want to learn the full story on UV-Brighteners, please refer to these articles:

Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Turkey or Deer this Year

A Few More Facts About Deer Hunting (actually covers deer and turkey issues)

Anyone Out There? Questions for My Reader(s)!

UV Brighteners: We’ve Got the News

Why I Don’t Care About UV Brighteners

In those articles, I’ve protested that  someone is making a wonderful income by preying on hunter’s fears.

(In the last article, I name names — there are companies that produce laundry products that do not add UV Brighteners to hunter’s clothing. They are available on your grocer’s shelves.)

Biologists have proven that turkeys are not startled by bright colors — ONLY COLORS THAT MOVE!

They’ve placed bright objects in front of these big birds.  In one test, they put bright orange hats on turkey decoys. Turkeys strolled amongst them with no concern — unless the orange hats moved!

Biologists theorize that bright colors abound in nature. Turkeys are used to random brights and darks in their habitat. They are only troubled by movement — not the colors.

There’s scads more to talk about, but UV-Brightener discussions wear me out.   😉

* Photo is from Wikipedia!

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There’s one resource that I’ve used extensively in this series: The Complete Book of Wild Turkey Hunting, by John  Trout, Jr.; 2000, The Lion’s Press.

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com