January 4, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--ECM editor Miriam Raftery photographed this healthy-looking flock of wild turkeys near Cuyamaca. There is some debate on whether turkeys are native or non-native in our region. Thousands of wild turkeys present today in our backcountry are descendants of wild turkeys released in 1993 by hunting groups. But it's quite possible that turkeys here are in fact a reintroduction ofdescendants from native birds that inhabited southern California eons ago.
Ancient remains of M. Califiornica, a now-extinct species of wild turkeys and a predecessor of modern turkeys, have been found in the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles County.