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Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta | Environment

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Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta
Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta

George and his Backyard Critters – Meet “Tommy” and “Henrietta”:

“Tommy” and “Henrietta” are the wild turkeys who live in the neighborhood and visit our bird feeder once in a while. We don’t see the turkeys very often, maybe it’s because they can go 14 to 20 days without food.

Michigan turkeys disappeared in the late 1800’s. In the 1950’s, wildlife biologists reintroduced turkeys in southwestern Michigan and later in the northern part of the state.  Today, there are about 200,000 wild turkeys roaming around Michigan.

Two of those turkeys live in our Forest Hills neighborhood. They are the Eastern Wild Turkey variety. One of the turkeys is bigger than the other, so we have named him Tommy.  We think the other is his mate, so we call her Henrietta.

One day we saw Tommy fanning his tail, which was a pretty sight.  Wildlife experts will tell you that male wild turkeys try to impress female turkeys by spreading out their tails, which is called fanning.  I’m not sure why Tommy fans his tail for the postal service truck.  Maybe he’s infatuated with the driver.  Or maybe he just likes the color of the truck.  Perhaps Henrietta is a Henry, and he’s desperately searching for a mate.

George, our dog, loves Tommy and Henrietta.  George will follow them from window to window as they wander around the yard scratching for food.  George is a Border Collie mix, so he would love to go outside to herd the turkeys.  Tommy and Henrietta are leery of humans and dogs, so if they notice you, they are gone in a flash.

Unlike, domestic turkeys, Eastern Wild Turkeys can fly up to speeds of 40 - 55 miles per hour.  They can also run more than 20 miles per hour.  As for George, let’s just say he isn’t that fast.

Next Sunday:  Meet the most hated creature in our urban forest.

 

If you missed Parts 1, 2 and 3 of “George’s Backyard Critters”, click on these links:

Part 3 – Meet Doe-Boy:  http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/urban-wildlife-meet-doe-boy/57513

Part 2 - Meet Baldy:  http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/urban-wildlife-forest-hills-george-and-his-backyard-critters-meet-baldy/57172

Part 1:  http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/urban-wildlife-forest-hills-georges-backyard-critters/56851