It is not unusual for friends to ask me questions about wildlife. I am often asked in March or early April if the wild turkeys are gobbling yet? In actuality the question being asked is "has the mating season began" for male wild turkeys may gobble at any time of the year. The intense mating activity in my area usually takes place in early to mid April with toms beginning to display and vie for hens as early as late March if weather conditions are favorable.
What many are not aware of is the strutting and gobbling during the winter months preceding the actual mating season. The photos posted below are from a recent morning when a flock of mature gobblers were more than a little worked up. A few of the gobblers strutted, gobbled, harassed, and intimidated the others making it an exciting morning to be behind the camera.
This strutting activity is different that what occurs during the actual mating season. During winter the gobblers are traveling about in bachelor groups with their attention directed towards each other. Once the actual mating season arrives the males will usually only strut while hens are present. The intent of the gobbler's display is to present himself as the most desirable mate, for it is the hen who decided who will be the acceptable suitor.