Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wild Turkey Dusk (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

26 January 2011 finds me stopping again to admire Wild Turkeys in a snowy field. Today is not as cold, so their shapes are not as round. The corn stubble no longer shows above the snow, and they must dig deeper to find stray kernels and old fallen cobs.

Wild Turkeys are native to Canada, but disappeared in the early 1900's due to over-hunting and deforestation.


In the 1980's Wild Turkeys from the northern US were introduced into southern Ontario. It is hard to find accounts of this that agree with regards to numbers, but I remember hearing that survival was not good until  they used canon nets to catch whole flocks, so that the Turkeys were relocated with their social structure intact.

We heard an account of an introduction to eastern Ontario in the 1990's that was rather more natural, though I can't find a written account of it. Apparently they played Turkey calls across the ice of the St. Lawrence River, and the flocks walked across from New York to Ontario.

The jury is still out on whether the reintroduction will be good for biodiversity, as Wild Turkeys are known to eat salamanders, frogs, and snakes, and disturb forest ground cover by scratching to feed. This will be a task for long term monitoring....

On 27 December I did my first painting of Wild Turkeys, also on a 5 x 7 inch canvas, called "Wild Turkey Sunset" but this painting somehow disappeared from the blog, so I'll post it again here.

Canada Geese are large birds, but they usually blend into a field. Sometimes I only notice them just as I whisk past on the highway - black necks with white cheeks raised up from a corn stubble field - but Wild Turkeys are much larger and darker. Like grazing cattle or deer, these giant birds become a prominent part of their scene, and I find myself marvelling at them - modern dinosaurs, come to wander in foraging herds in our ordinary landscape.



This original painting is available for $275. For information on purchase and shipping, please contact me at karstad@pinicola.ca

2 comments:

  1. Interesting subject for some young, up-and-coming, natural scientist to take as a thesis, perhaps.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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