BRISTOL - Two turkeys became superstars at the Harry Barnes Memorial Nature Center Sunday.
Kids and adults gathered curiously around the male and female gobblers, visiting from the Indian Rock Wildlife Preserve, Barnes’ sister Environmental Learning Center of Connecticut across town.
“We’re teaching people about the anatomy of turkeys and the behavior of turkeys,” volunteer Luke Ricciardone said.
He explained how the turkeys’ necks turned red when they became anxious, then a bluish-purple when they relaxed.
When volunteer Alex Laskowski blew into a whistle mimicking the sound of a hen’s coo, the male bird puffed up and fanned out his feathers.
“These two turkeys were hatched at the same time in May and raised together,” she said.
The volunteers asked visitors to help them come up with names for the birds. They received a few contenders.
“I think it’s very fascinating,” said Nuno Moreira, visiting from Wolcott with Cub Scout Pack 230, Den 2.
“You don’t get to see a turkey every day,” the youngster added. “Usually you see them on your dinner plate. You don’t normally get to meet a turkey.”
Den Leader Mike Wolcheski brought eight boys on the outing.
“Visiting a nature center was one of the last requirements we needed to get the Fur, Feathers and Ferns belt loop,” he said. “It’s good for them to see and learn about all the animals.”
Bristol resident P.J. Eaton watched from afar as the other kids pet the turkeys and posed for pictures near them, timid about getting too close. Finally, as the crowd dissolved he walked up and bravely sat down on a hay bale beside one.
“We love nature and we love the outdoors,” P.J.’s mother Cheryl Eaton said, snapping a photograph of her son.
His grandmother Joanne Denoto also joined them.
“This is a very nice learning experience,” she said.
Meanwhile, wildlife photographer John Correia greeted people to his new exhibit, on display at Barnes for the next few months.
Correia’s photographs - many of birds and other animals he’s encountered around the state - are all taken with a cell phone.
“When I see something beautiful I take a picture,” he said.
He employs a set of binoculars to offer a close-up view of an animal from an interesting perspective, through the lens.
Correia spent the summer working on the Connecticut Bird Atlas, a project by the University of Connecticut and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Wildlife Division.
“I had to write down everything I saw and heard,” he said. “To figure out what species we have breeding in the state.”
As a former Barnes volunteer, Correia was anxious to get his photography up for people to see. Each of the pieces is for sale.
“I knew I could present here and get a good turnout,” he said.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.