I made this short video out in the pasture with the turkeys, showing how I can get their group gobble going. Of course, on my first attempt they make a fool of me. But after that, they obliged with some nice gobbles.
Besides the gobble, turkeys have about a dozen different calls and vocalizations. Some are honks of single notes, some are trills across a few notes. The toms also make a sound that is somewhere between spitting and coughing when they are showing off their plumage. They don’t have a big “vocabulary,” but obviously it is effective for their needs.
The gobble is a reaction when something is out of place. The turkeys don’t seem to take it quite so seriously as a note of danger, but they seem to all be pinging each other to say, “Pay attention.” They’ll gobble whenever anything surprises them. It was funny to listen to them, when two years ago Allie and I were pounding t-posts into the ground. As each slam of the pounder on the steel posts rang out, the turkeys would gobble. They continued, keeping pace with my pounding, for the whole time we worked on that project with no apparent diminishment in enthusiasm.