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      Nature Report: Turkey Bouts

      Suddenly, out from behind a bush a pair of gobblers emerges locked in combat.

      One has gripped the other's beak in his own and is attempting to throw his rival off balance.

      If he is able to get him down he will then pummel him with wings and spurs.

      It is early for wild Rio Grande turkeys to be fighting for dominance, and although the year is only a week old these two toms are determined to sort out who is numero uno in these parts.

      An increase in spring daylight triggers hormonal changes and male turkeys usually begin gobbling and strutting in February and March to attract females.

      These toms are ahead of schedule and are deciding ahead of time who is boss bird.

      They carry their battle back into the brush clucking and pecking at one another as each tries to grab the other's beak.

      After struggling in the bushes for several minutes they re-emerge into the clearing as each seeks an advantage.

      One of the toms manages to once again grab the others beak.

      Bending and twisting their necks the fight continues as several other gobblers follow the action.

      The fight lasts for at least 30 minutes.

      Sometimes they disengage, but then lock on once again beak to beak and toe to toe as they dance in the sunlight clearing.

      Finally they unclench, and one flees with the victor in subdued pursuit.

      Both seem exhausted, and they retreat to the shade of a thorny mesquite motte.

      There's a brief squabble or two, but neither seems really interested in resuming the bout.