It’s November, aka turkey time — wild turkeys that is. They’re the largest of Utah’s game birds and sometimes you can see them wandering around Rose Park. Here’s (basically) everything you should know about them.
- Although the population has declined statewide, there are about 25,000-30,000 wild turkeys in Utah.
- There are two subspecies in Utah: The Rio Grande and the Merriam’s.
- You can spot the difference between the two by the color of the tips of their tail feathers. The Rios are buff or tan and the Merriam’s are white.
- Male turkeys weigh 17 to 21 pounds and female turkeys about 8 to 10 pounds.
- Males are called “Toms” and females are called “Hens.”
- Females usually raise young on their own. Cue Reba McEntire’s “I’m a Survivor.”
- It’s best to never approach these birds.
- If you do encounter an aggressive turkey, stay calm and wave a jacket or walking stick. (Related: Tips for taking on a mountain lion.)
- Keep your dogs with you — turkeys tend to avoid dogs at all costs.
In the Wild (Turkeys)
Head to the Hardware Wildlife Education Center in Hyrum (about an hour north of SLC) for a glimpse of the wild turkeys. Their Turkey Tales exhibit is open Nov. 10-12 and Nov. 17-19 from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Bring the whole family for free activities and hourly story times.