A pleasant surprise!
I decided to try the same roost site as last time. It's been four days since I was in there last. Luckily, they were in there again! I could see about a dozen birds or so from where I got set up. I was within twenty to twenty-five yards of the majority of them. I could hear one or two birds strutting! I hit the record button at 6:29 (roughly a half hour before sunrise). The first bird to make a sound was a jake, of course! For the next couple minutes, that was the only turkey audio to be heard (jake yelps & gobbles)! But pretty soon, a few higher pitched hen sounding yelps mixed in there! The gobbling increased & almost every time a big bird gobbled, a jake would follow up with calking. As daylight approached, I could make out a few more silhouettes in the treetops down over the hill from me. The hen talk increased!! I got a little more excited, as did the gobblers! There ended up being a lot more birds in there than I originally thought! They were scattered across the steep sidehill almost one hundred eighty degrees in front of me! As soon as I had enough camera light, I zoomed in on a bird I thought was a hen. Turns out, she was bearded hen! But as soon as I zoomed in on her, one of the other birds pitched down! It was still fairly dark, but the nearby field was bright enough to pitch into. That prompted the others to drop out of the trees (including the bearded hen). A longbeard stayed in the tree strutting & spinning around on the limb as he looked at the birds on the ground below him. He looked to be a two year old judging by the spurs. The birds in the field to my left (maybe fifty yards away) continued to talk. Finally, the longbeard I was getting footage of flew down. So I zoomed in on another hen that was still in the tree. She was looking around & preening her feathers. She was a little older hen, judging by the wing patch. Every now & then she would let out some pretty yelps! A couple longbeards moved in underneath her strutting within five to ten yards of me! The drumming was so loud & I was smiling underneath my facemask!! A few other hens pitched down. One of them belting out a beautiful fly-down cackle! Wingbeats were all around me & the strutters in front of me were eating it up! When they'd gobble, it was all I could do not to jump! Some jakes moved in & were yelping not ten yards to my left. More hens dropped out & cackled as well! The majority of the birds stayed in the field. But a handful were in the woods with me & put on quite a show! The colors in those longbeards were spectacular!! I was surrounded by talking turkeys & loving every minute of it! Eventually, they all headed into the field & slowly headed away from me. I could hear them every now & then fighting & carrying on. So I was able to keep tabs on them & let them get far enough away before slipping out of there. In the beginning, I thought I had set up under a bunch of gobblers & maybe a couple hens. But it turned out, there were a lot more hens in there than I thought! It was a very pleasant surprise!!
Sunrise: 6:57 a.m
Temperature: 45 degrees (cloudy)
Barometer: 29.97 & steady
Location: southwest Pennsylvania
# of gobbles heard: 75