Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest is closed today, but we wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey is a key component to many Thanksgiving dinners, but the turkey is also a key component of Four Holes Swamp and the surrounding habitat. Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) often flock together and roost in trees at night. They are non-migratory and often live for only 1.5 years. In 1987, 8 hens, 5 gobblers were reintroduced by Audubon South Carolina, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and the Hoover family. The wild birds were were caught in the Francis Marion National Forest and released in the Francis Beidler Forest the same morning. It is not unreasonable to attribute the bulk of local Wild Turkey population to the progeny of the thirteen reintroduced birds.

Occasionally along the boardwalk, Wild Turkeys can be spotted where the boardwalk runs through higher, drier forest (markers 101-116) or where the boardwalk runs parallel to the swamp's edge (markers 154-181). However, as the image shows, the birds are not opposed to walking through the swamp, especially when a crop of acorns have fallen to the ground. If you miss seeing the birds while on the boardwalk, you might see them moving through the fields on either side of our driveway or the roads approaching Beidler Forest.

Enjoy your turkey dinner and we will continue protecting the birds' wild cousins!

Images by Mark Musselman

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