Turkey Haunt

photo of landscape at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge (from govt. web site)

In the spring of 2000, I embarked on a quest to record dawn choruses and other nature soundscapes, having in mind that I would produce a series of relaxing and meditative CDs (which I am finally going to pull off, over ten years later!). My trip lasted nearly two months and was fraught with horrible weather. Wherever I went there was either high wind or rain (or both). I spent weeks trying to outrun bad weather systems, but to no avail. Many times, I would drive all day to get out of one storm only to have a new one overtake me from a different direction. I am amazed that I got anything of value during that trip.

One lucky spot was Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma. Containing a variety of habitats (eastern deciduous forest, mixed grass prairie, lakes and ponds, and steep rocky slopes), the refuge has always yielded good recordings (at least when jets from nearby Fort Sill aren’t flying overhead). The following is a good example. It is one my favorite Wild Turkey recordings, with two males gobbling intermittently from oak woods next to a small creek. Chuck-will’s-widows sing prominently throughout. Listen also for the songs of two Tufted Titmice:

Wild Turkeys call intermittently next to a small brook while Chuck-will’s-widows sing in the background. 6am, 5 May 2000, Wichita Mountains NWR near Lawton, OK. Recorded by Lang Elliott.

photo of Wild Turkey gobblingI have other turkey recordings where there are more individuals involved and where the gobbles are louder and closer. This one is more laid back, which is why I like it so much. I didn’t know the turkeys were there. I arrived at the break of dawn, heard the chuck-wills and quickly set my soundscape mike near the stream. Minutes later, the turkeys chimed-in, which was a welcome surprise!

Let me know if you like it!


  1. I hear Chuck-Will’s Widows, a Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmice, Wild Turkeys, one Great Crested Flycatcher note (I think), Mourning Doves, a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, and alarm calls from either a chickadee or maybe it’s a third titmouse. I also heard the wing rumbling of one of the turkeys in the beginning, and I thought I heard strange, low-pitched calls from one of the Chuck-Wills Widows in the beginning and about two-thirds of the way through.

    Near the end, I heard an unusual series of low-pitched notes which I think are again from the Chuck-Wills Widows.

    I love the wonderful “echoey” effect from the gobbling of the turkeys.

  2. My dog really likes this one! I enjoy hearing the birds that aren’t so common in my neck of the woods. The rush and gurgle of water is particularly nice layered in with the wildlife songs.

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