The wild turkey is North America’s largest game bird, reports The social birds in winter often separate into toms, or adult males; jakes, or young males; jennies, or young females; and hens, or females of all ages.

Habitat destruction and unregulated shooting caused wild turkey populations to plummet below 30,000 birds. But now an estimated 7 million or more wild turkeys can be found in every state except Alaska.

Blue Mountain Audubon Society member Tom Scribner has led a local Turkey Trot before Thanksgiving to find the wiley birds and this year's event will be on Sunday Nov. 17.

Open to the community the free all-day outing will start at 9 a.m. in the Whitman College Science Building parking lot between Isaacs Avenue and Park Street. Attendees should bring a lunch and radios for inter-car communication, as the group will carpool.

According to the local chapter newsletter, "Tom has led this trip for years and most years the turkeys cooperate. As in 200 or more. But not always. No guarantees, but this annual field trip usually turns up a goodly number of species and lots of turkeys."

The website adds that while wild turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour for short distances and run up to 20 miles per hour, commercially raised turkeys cannot fly. And only male turkeys gobble — hens make a clicking noise.