Moment in Nature: Wild turkeys

"Sunday Morning" took viewers today to watch wild turkeys in California's Marin County, just north of San Francisco. The footage was by videographer Lee McEachern.

According to Scientific American, about a quarter-million wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) live in California. When the state's Fish and Game Commission introduced thousands of turkeys raised on farms into the wild in the first half of the 20th century, as part of a recreational hunting program, the numbers of turkeys in the wild did not substantially increase. It took the introduction of wild turkeys trapped and imported into the state (and able to adapt to the California wilds) to substantially increase the wild turkey population.

This has prompted complaints in some quarters. Short-term studies on the turkeys' effect on the ecosystem suggest they can co-exist with other species, like quails, but overpopulation and drought conditions in California may force turkeys to compete with other species for resources.

       
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  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.