“Roosting Turkeys at Radnor Lake” by Robin Conover
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 100-400 mm,
4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens with circular polarizer
ISO 6400, ƒ5.6 at 1/125 second, Gitzo tripod

It was beginning to get dark as I headed to my car after a late afternoon hike with my camera in tow. Motion to my right caught my attention enough to compel me to investigate. I knew something had flown, but I didn’t know what it was or where it went.

After carefully scanning the forest floor and not seeing anything of interest, I heard chirping from above.

Roosting Turkeys at Radnor Lake

Looking up, I discovered, to my surprise, a wild turkey nestling in with her brood to roost for the night. Quietly, I set my camera and tripod down and began to watch the three poults jockey for position under their mother’s enveloping wings.

The tree they had chosen was just a few feet off the trail, so I was concerned I might disturb them. They were scurrying along the tree limb about 15 feet off the ground as I started to photograph them. With the light fading quickly, I had to use an ISO of 6400 to have any hope of capturing useable images.

While the turkeys were aware that I was watching them, they didn’t appear to feel threatened, so I continued shooting stills and video. I shot for about 10 minutes before it grew too dark to continue.

Though I’ve been exploring the trails of Tennessee’s state parks for nearly 25 years, I’ve never witnessed poults this young roosting in a tree.

After some investigation, I’ve learned that turkeys have no wing feathers when they hatch. It takes about two weeks for them to grow enough feathers to be able to take short flights.

This could have been one of this brood’s first nights to make it to the safety of a tree limb. I watched for a few more minutes until they settled in and began to nod off, one by one, for a safe night’s sleep.

I just can’t keep the scene to myself, so you can view the video below.

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About Author

Robin Conover

Robin Conover has spent the last 23 years documenting the people and places of Tennessee with The Tennessee Magazine. After graduating from Murray State University, Robin began working for magazine in October 1988 as a communications specialist and photojournalist. She now serves as TECA vice president of communications and editor of The Tennessee Magazine. Her interest in preserving the environment and Tennessee’s beautiful natural areas has led her down many miles of trails to capture thousands of images. Robin is currently a board member of the Friends of Radnor Lake, a nonprofit in Nashville. Robin’s images can be seen in greeting cards, calendars, books and at a few fine-art shows she participates in each year.

8 Comments

  1. I thought there would be footage or mire photos of the RoostingTurkeys but it only has the same picture skien in the magazine. Disappointing.

    • Trent Scott

      Gloria,

      The magazines arrived in mailboxes a little ahead of schedule. We are posting July content to the website as we speak. We will have that video posted later today or tomorrow.

      Thanks for reading.

      Trent Scott

  2. Nell Moore on

    I walk at Radnor Lake and I look forward to seeing more footage of “Roosting Turkeys at Radnor Lake” by Robin Conovor. Thanks for sharing!

    Nell Moore

  3. Amazing pictures and video. We have a lot of turkeys on our property but I have never seen points that young on the roost. Thank, Robin.

  4. Amazing pictures and video. We have a lot of turkeys on our property but I have never seen poults that young on the roost. Thank, Robin.

  5. I saw the lovely picture taken by Robin Conover. I actually came to this website because she mentioned it in her article. The video is wonderful. I am so glad I could see both. THANK YOU. PM

  6. Thank you for sharing. I also came to the website because of your article. I love nature at its best:)

  7. Susan Foote Haubold on

    Thank you Robin for sharing the FABULOUS video of the roosting Turkey hen and her babies!!!

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