Monday, April 15, 2013

First Nature Trek to feature wild turkeys

Alan Harn definitely is talking turkey, whether or not anyone actually sees one.

Wild turkeys are the topic for the first Nature Trek, a collaborative project between Dickson Mounds State Museum and the University of Illinois at Springfield's Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon. As the museum's assistant curator for anthropology, Harn is the inaugural speaker in a series which will take place on the third Thursday of the month, spring through summer. It's a challenging choice, given wily wild turkey history.

"They're the most elusive gamebird - the most elusive game - in America," Harn says.

Apparently, that didn't help them much with our pioneer ancestors. Once-abundant turkeys disappeared from Illinois by 1910, thanks to a combination of overhunting and cleared forest lands. But in 1959, the birds were re-introduced to the Shawnee Forest in southern Illinois, unexpectedly thriving in the mix of cropland and wooded areas which remains. There are an estimated 135,000 wild turkeys in the state now.

The event was featured by the Peoria Journal Star on April 15, 2013.

Read the article online