The fighting begins a little earlier her in Central Florida, however this "winter war" is a continuation of a 100 million year old ritual. Feathered Dinosaurs.
Latest Study Anseriformes (ducks & geese) and Galliformes (Turkeys, game birds & chickens) originated in the late Cretaceous. Most other bird families appeared soon after the great dinosaur extinction.
Tooth loss in birds occurred about 116 million years ago.
This is war after all.
Mixed Spanish Black turkey snarling at a Rio Grande wild Tom turkey (His younger competition for the hens)
The Rio Grande bird is only 10 months old, but I expect to him to be king of the flock by spring or by next autumn.
Snoods flying in the Florida winter
December and January are noisy as the Tom Turkeys attempt to increase their standing in the flock social status.
There can be only one.......
The teen birds are not immune to the winter solstice battles.
(the young toms have red faces when excited)
By January or February, the strongest Tom will have fought his way to the alpha status. The fighting will have largely subsided and turkey breeding begun. Actually the hens are already laying down for the Toms and that may have prompted the male combat to start early.
And that in itself will cause a different set of problems (I added this statement on January 1)
Today I counted three hens that have already mated with Toms.
So in theory: Two week of laying eggs and 28 days of sitting the nest.......Places the poults hatching the second week of February. Not cold by northern standards but still the overnight temperatures could drop to 45. The baby turkeys will be fine overnight, but I will have to place a heat lamp in the pen for their daytime turkey adventures.
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