AUSTIN (KXAN) — ‘Tis the season? An Austin man discovered a flock of 10 turkeys in his backyard late last week near Taterwood Drive and Anderson Mill Road in northwest Austin.
Texas is home to three subspecies of turkey: the Eastern, Rio Grande and Merriam turkeys, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The Rio Grande subspecies is the most popular of the three, with all turkeys tending to reside near rivers and lakes due to their high water intake needs.
Today, turkeys are present in 223 of Texas’ 254 counties, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. But that wasn’t always the case: A hundred years ago, TPWD documents said turkeys nearly vanished in Texas “due to unregulated hunting and loss of habitat.” That all changed following both hunter and landowner supports, bag limits and hunting restocking programs, per TPWD.
Texas’ wild turkeys can weigh between 16 and 18 pounds if they’re a Rio Grande turkey, or between 19 and 21 pounds if an Eastern and Merriam subspecies.
But what’s the difference between a wild turkey and a domestic one? A group of wild turkeys is called a “flock,” and are known for their darker brown and black colors and smaller, leaner build compared to domestic turkeys. In contrast, domestic turkeys are typically white in color and are heavier.
More details on turkeys in Texas can be found on TPWD’s website.