Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Wild Turkey embryo

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird biology Updated: June 10, 2013 - 10:35 AM

Here's a photo of the embryo of a Wild Turkey. It was removed from an egg I found on a gravel road at the golf course where I tend bird-nesting boxes. Two eggs were on the road, the second one empty and smashed flat. I assume this was the work of a predator. The egg from which I took the embryo had a hole about half the size of what you see here. I enlarged the hole to remove the embryo. Based on the development of an embryo I removed from a Canada Goose egg two years ago I estimate that the turkey egg had been in incubation for about 12 days (my guess). The dark splotches on the embryo are the first appearance of feathers. An enlargement of this photo clearly shows feathers along the bird's spine. The other feather indications are matted. The goose egg I examined was taken from an abandoned nest built on a platform in our pond. I timed incubation in that case. The female goose abandoned the nest after eight days of incubation. When the eggs had been untended for five days (with very cool nights) I removed them and opened one. That embryo is shown in the second photo. It was in better condition than that of the turkey, the latter having spent half a day in the sun.

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