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Natural World

  • Season 30
  • 14 episodes
  • Nature

Episode 1: My Life as A Turkey: Natural World


Drama-documentary re-creating biologist Joe Hutto's year spent raising 13 wild turkeys from an endangered breed in Florida. The scientist looked after the birds as though they were his own children, learning to communicate with them and seeing the world from their perspective, before experiencing a sense of heartache as they left him to begin life on their own.


A Natural World film about turkeys? What’s going on? They’re not cuddly and they’re certainly not cool. They’re not even creepy or scary. Why devote a 60-minute special to these famously odd-looking, famously dim-witted creatures? Because, trust me, your ideas about turkeys will be transformed in the hour it takes to watch this film.

For a start, it deals with wild turkeys, which are said to be as different from their domesticated cousins — the ones we eat at Christmas — as wolves are from pet dogs. But also, their reputation for stupidity is, it turns out, undeserved. We know this because a man called Joe Hutto spent months in northern Florida raising a brood of wild turkey chicks who took to him as their mother.

Hutto got as close to turkeys as any human could, and discovered their vocabulary of calls (about 30, including different alarms for different species of snake) and affectionate nature. The film gets a bit mystical, but it’s an eye-opening insight into unexpectedly wonderful creatures.

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ProducerDave Allen
Series editorSteve Greenwood

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