ARTISTS AND BIRDS
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"Reasons to Visit Zion"

Wild Turkeys

        Twenty years ago we moved from Springdale and Zion National Park to St. George. Last week we visited that area, and what a change! There were Wild Turkeys everywhere! We never saw Wild Turkeys while we lived there. We stopped to talk with Springdale residents who told us that the turkeys even come to their backyard to eat cat food from the cat dishes.turkey

        A few years ago Wild Turkeys were hunted to near extinction in some parts of the US. There was a total of approximately a million birds left in the country. Turkey numbers were falling rapidly, and so the National Turkey Federation was formed. With the help of the Federation and other wildlife groups, things turned around. Today there are more than seven million birds. The Wild Turkey has always been important. Ben Franklin wanted it to be the symbol of the United States, not the Bald Eagle. He loved the beauty of the bird, how intelligent it was, and that it could make a living even in tough country. Wild Turkeys stand three feet tall. When they take off flying, they look like a large bomber leaving the ground. The protected Zion National Park is a great habitat for this magnificent bird.

        You might want to take the time to visit Zion this fall. The yellow-gold Cottonwoods, bathed in the autumn sunlight is a sight you won’t want to miss. Bring a camera to make a memory of the majestic red mountain faces spotted with colors of red, rust, and lemon yellow. Drive the roads, hike the trails, smell the canyon air, and watch the sun hide behind the tall mountains. About two hours before evening, the Wild Turkeys and Mule Deer will make their appearance. There will be bucks with large antlers seeking out the does, as November is the Mule Deer rut time in Zion. Bucks, masters of hiding most of the year from man, now no longer care who sees them during this annual autumn rut. We plan to take a trip to Zion each week through November to enjoy this time of year with the Wild Turkeys and the Mule Deer. Hope you will too.

        The artist of the Wild Turkey is Marilyn Davis. For more information about birds or the Red Cliffs Audubon Monthly Meetings and Field Trips, call 435 673-0996. 


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