Friday, May 30, 2014

An Un-EGGS-pected Find

On Wednesday (28 May 2014) I conducted a program on Woodland Ecology for a class of sixth grade students from Mt. Pleasant.  We took a tour through Chipp-A-Waters Park looking at invasive species like Dame's Rocket and Garlic Mustard, examining trees killed by Emerald Ash Borer, talking about the role of mosquitoes in the environment, looking at how the Chippewa River has changed its course over time, and examining native plants.

About five minutes after the students left to return to school I made a surprising discovery.  While photographing a Feathery False Solomon's Seal flower (#84 on the 2014 list),  I looked down by my feet and saw this:

A hidden nest
It appears to be a Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) nest.  Female turkey lay their eggs directly on the ground, scraping away leaves and other debris to form a shallow depression.

This nest held a total of eight eggs.  I moved away the leaves that were lightly covering the eggs to take a few photos and re-covered them when I was done.

Wild Turkey eggs
I have seen Wild Turkeys in Mt. Pleasant numerous times, both adults and poults (young turkeys), but this is the first time that I have ever found a nest.  I hope that it survives and the young have the opportunity to grow to adulthood.

A Wild Turkey hen - photographed at Chipp-A-Waters Park in 2009

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