In a raucous pen at the Elm Turkey Farm in Dracut, 150 or so plump turkeys greet me with clucks, honks, and squeaks.
"That’s basically what they do all day," Charlie Daigle, TK, explains. "They make that kind of sound, what you just heard. The hens cackle, and so do the toms. Once in a while, the toms gobble."
There’s also hissing. And spitting. There’s squeaks, grunts, chortles, and yelps. It’s a sonic carnival. But where art thou, oh gobble?
It turns out that turkeys like to mimic sounds. The gobble is the distinctive cry of the sexually mature male responding to the call of the hen, according to Simkins. "I never know how they got the 'gobble, gobble' out of this," she says. "Y’know, in books, when you read 'gobble, gobble'? I don’t know, they don’t do 'gobble gobble.'"