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Sounds that Make ‘Em Gobble

THROWBACK TT Aug 31, 2021 | This Turkey Tuesday is about the sounds that elicit a turkey gobble. As turkey hunters, we all await the first calls of a barred owl or crow each morning, our ears straining to hear what we hope is the explosion of a gobble nearby. But have you ever wondered why turkeys gobble to certain sounds? As it turns out, it may relate to the frequency of the sound relative to how turkeys hear. We know that turkeys hear and process sounds differently than we do, and research has shown that the turkey gobble resides in the 700 to 1275hz range on a sonogram. The second image, a sonogram image produced as part of Patrick Wightman‘s research, shows the “caw caw” of a crow (labeled 51) followed immediately by a gobble (labeled 52). As you can see, the calls reside squarely in the same frequency band which is likely why turkeys respond to crows so readily. Other sounds, such as owl hoots, cow moos, coyotes howling, and even some gunshots also fall into this frequency band. The take home is, many sounds that prompt a tom to gobble likely do so because those sounds are of a similar frequency as the call the tom makes – that gobble we turkey hunters live to hear. What’s the craziest sound you’ve heard that resulted in a bird gobbling?

Photo © Tes Randle Jolly

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