Piebald Turkeys?

I was sorting through some old photos the other day when I came upon a couple of shots I took about 10 years ago. It was a mid-May afternoon and on a drive back to my New England turkey hunting camp from the grocery store, this group of turkeys stepped out into the road—two adult gobblers and two hens. As you can see by the photo, two of the hens were virtually all white. One of the gobblers appeared to be ‘normally’ colored while the second sported white primary wing feathers and on each side along with primary center tail feathers that were likewise splashed with white. I stopped my truck, snapped a couple of pix and let out a series of yelps. The white bird gobbled then broke into strut before following the hens into the road ditch. Fortunate enough to have a bona fide turkey hunting expert in camp, I hit the accelerator to bounce my experience off of Ray Eye. Turkey2

“Domestic birds,” Eye said matter-of-factly. “No doubt.”

I’ll bow down to Eye’s expertise every day of the week, however, no one in the area—and I know everyone in the vicinity—kept any birds. So what the heck did I see? Were they piebald turkeys?

I spent two weeks, trying to track down that group of birds, but never set eyes on them again or since. It was if the entire groups simply disappeared. Wish I knew exactly what it was that I saw. Anyone care to chime in?

—Gerry Bethge