A Rare Bird
By Kelly Vaughn Kramer
You won't find many Gould's turkeys in Arizona. You won't find many of them anywhere, really. The rare birds are found in small numbers in the mountain ranges of Arizona and New Mexico, and several agencies, including the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, the Centro Ecológico de Sonora and the National Wild Turkey Federation, are working to reintroduce a stronger population in the Southwestern United States.
The largest of the five turkey subspecies, Gould's gobblers most closely resemble Merriam's turkeys, though they have bigger feet and longer legs and tail feathers. As with most turkeys, Gould's are omnivorous, munching on acorns, seeds, berries and insects.
And when the males aren't busy foraging, they're often mating — toms are polygamous. They strut for females by puffing their feathers — which, in Gould's turkeys, are copper and greenish gold — spreading their wings and dragging their tails. After mating, hens search for nest sites and lay clutches of 10 to 14 eggs. The eggs incubate for approximately 28 days before babies, or poults, are born. Poults leave the nest within 24 hours.