36 Perkins St., PO Box 300040, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030

Gerry Wright, Founder and President

Telephone: 617-524-7070


TTY/MA RELAY 800-439-2370

Friends of Jamaica Pond

History and Annual Park Keeper Award

Frederick Law Olmsted a one-man play by Gerry Wright

Nature's Class Room: Environmental Education Projects

Environmental Research Projects

Forestry Protection Projects

Emerald Necklace Bird Club

Volunteer Stewardship Program

Calendar and Meetings and Press

Memberships and Donations

Links and Resources

Contact and Email Info

"Let it be not for present use and delight alone, but let it be of such a work that our descendents will thank us for it."
Frederick Law Olmsted

Class Room:


Jamaica Pond's Albino Gray Squirrel

Eastern Chipmunk

Cottontail Rabbits

Great Horned Owls

Red Tailed Hawks

Butterflies and Dragonflies


Pink Lady's Slipper

Great Blue Herons

Emerald Necklace Fungi (Coming Soon)

Emerald Necklace’s


Meleagris gallopavo 

by Stephen Baird

Adult male with "Snood" above the beak and "Beard" feathers from chest.
  • Common in Emerald Necklace Parks’ wood lands and thickets plus many back yards seeking food from bird feeders.  Travel in flocks, mostly seen foraging on the ground, but can fly up to 55 mph when threatened. Roost in trees at night and ocassionally are seen swimming!
  • Male mating song is a gobble.  Turkeys also cackle, cluck and peep.
  • Adult birds stand to 24 inches to 36 inches in size with a 3-4-foot wingspan and weigh 8-24 pounds. The male is larger than the female.
  • Life span is 1-2 years in the wild, oldest known was documented at least 13 years.
  • Conduct courtship during February and March by male feather displays, strut and gobble calls. Turkeys are polygynous and males mate with multiple females. Male does not participate in parental activities. They form all male flocks after mating season.

Short video of this Tom Turkey fanning tail and gobble calls HERE
  • Nests of leaves in shallow cavities in thickets or base of a tree are created by females.  Usually lay 4-17 tan with reddish or pinkish spotted eggs. Incubation by female lasts around 28 days. Eggs hatch March-May.  Raise one brood a year.
  • Poults leave nest one day after hatching.  They forage on their own and feed on more instects then plant material the first few weeks. Female will provide some protection. They form large flocks with multiple female adults and first year poults.
  • Turkey forage primarily on the ground using strong legs to scratch leaves and ground cover  for seeds, berries, grains, nuts, plant materials, insects and snails. They will venture higher in shurbs and trees to pick fruits and nuts.

  • Turkey feathers are used in Native American clothing. Dyed feathers are used for "Big Bird" and other theater costumes.
  • Wild Turkeys were hunted to extinction in Massachusetts in 1851.  Hunting bans and strict regulations plus reintroduction programs and habitat conservation started in 1970s has enabled the Wild Turkey population to recover to over 25,000 in 2014 here in Massachusetts.
  • “Poults” is the name for young chicks. “Jakes” and “Jennies” are the names for young male and female turkeys. “Toms” and “Hens” are the names for adult birds. 
  • Spanish name: guajolote was derrived from the Native American name: huexolotl (Aztec) who domesticated the turkey.  The turkey was brought to Spain in 1519 and soon was dispersed over all of Europe.  Some even sailed back to North America on colonial ships!

Wild Turkey Poults in Franklin Park

Links and Resources:

Massachusetts DCR MassWildlife web site with details on successful conservation introductions of wild turkeys from New York in 1972 to bring back extinct Massachusetts wild turkeys last documented in 1851 to over 25,000 wild turkeys documented in 2014  HERE

Cornell University's Ornithology Department on line field guide page on Wild Turkeys HERE

University of Michigan web page on Wild Turkeys (McCullough, J. 2001. "Meleagris gallopavo" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 26, 2014)  HERE

USGS bird indentification and breeding atlas Wild Turkey web page: HERE ( Gough, G.A., Sauer, J.R., Iliff, M. Patuxent Bird Identification Infocenter. 1998. Version 97.1. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD)

John Audubon's Birds of America 1840 "Wild Turkey" read his natural history details HERE

Life Histories of Familiar North American Birds by Arthur Cleveland Bent 1968 - Wild Turkey - Original Source: Bent, Arthur Cleveland. 1932.  Smithsonian Institution United States National Museum Bulletin 162: 326-339. United States Government Printing Office HERE

Native American Turkey Mythology, Stories and Books from Cherokee, Zuni, Acawai, Caddo legends  HERE

How Turkeys Changed Forest History - Peeling Back the Bark - Exploring the collections, acquisitions, and treasures of the Forest History Society, November 25, 2009 by Jamie "Mad B-Logger" Lewis - HERE

NOTE:  8 x 10 matted and framed photographs are available for $100 membership donations or 11 x 17 matted and framed photographs are available for $500 membership donations to Friends of Jamaica Pond. Contact Stephen Baird at

Contact and Email Information


36 Perkins St., PO Box 300040, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030

Gerry Wright, Founder and President

Telephone: 617-524-7070


TTY/MA RELAY 800-439-2370

For translations into different languages -- Arabic, Chinese, Italian, French, German, Russian, Spanish or others visit the web site:

Community Arts Advocates

Copyright 1999-2015 by Stephen Baird