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My Life as a Turkey

DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product Description

My Life as a Turkey is the account of an amazing experiment: Naturalist Joe Hutto incubates two dozen wild-turkey eggs with the intention of human-imprinting and raising them. But the relationship that develops between the author and the birds changes his life so that he wonders who has imprinted whom.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly moving - a must-see Feb. 1 2012
Format:DVD
This is such a refreshing movie to watch in this insane and fast-paced world. It begins with Hutto's hatching out wild turkey eggs, but it ends being such a profoundly moving and life-changing experience for both him and the viewers of this marvelous reenactment. Beautifully filmed and a must-see for everyone interested in Nature. I wish this could be shown to kids in school so they would learn to respect our fellow creatures.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting - a bit spooky March 22 2012
By OAT
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although the author is a bit creepy, the story is amazing.
The cinematography is spectacular.
Hollywood was kept out of this documentary and that is like a breath of fresh air, no over dramatization and blood and guts, or awful continual music. Just presented as close to what the natural world is really like without much judgement.
I enjoyed it very much and it was kind of haunting - that is why I say it is a bit spooky. Some of the images are indelible in my mind, as well as the commentary.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  121 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Life As A [Mother] Turkey Nov. 8 2011
By Bob Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Saw the first half of this program at a Nature 30th Anniversary celebration here in NYC and can recommend it based on what I saw. Mr. Hutto hatched 16 wild turkey poults from eggs he received and purposefully imprinted them as their mother, then spent over a year playing mother (turkey) hen to them from before dawn to full dark every day to the exclusion of all else in the deep woods in northern Florida. His book about this experience, Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey, was discovered by a British producer and RECREATED on film with an actor playing Mr. Hutto's part (who looks like Mr. Hutto) on a ranch in a different part of Florida. The overvoice speaks Hutto's descriptive words. The actor onscreen does not talk much, but occasionally makes turkey sounds as he learns the turkey lexicon. There is nothing fake about the recreation, least of all the young turkeys, and you cannot TELL it is a recreation, period. The cinematography is stunning and the story will captivate you. (You will understand why Ben Franklin wanted the turkey, not the eagle, to be the national bird!)

My own experience with a family of wild turkeys in South Dakota had already convinced me of a lot of behavior confirmed by this program. When I stopped my car near them at the side of the road, the family dashed through a hedge and up a hill towards the woods, except for one poult who missed his cue and got separated. He was running in a circle peeping his head off on my side of the hedge. Meanwhile the family waited on the hillside and called to him over and over. Eventually the poult dashed through the hedge and rejoined the family, and they fled into the woods together. When I described this behavior to Mr. Hutto he confirmed it as well as the type of peeps a poult would make under these circumstances.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book-"Illumination in the Flatwoods" too! Nov. 17 2011
By CT Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
What a wonderful, moving story of a man truly communing with nature. I loved how he instantly knew he was to be the mother of these little turkeys as soon as they hatched, and he dedicated his life to the turkeys for as long as they needed him. I was amazed at how the turkeys seemed to have a group concencus about when it was time to roost, leave the coop, and move on. For an even fuller picture of this story, read the book "Illumination in the Flatwoods". You'll love it!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFULL!!!! Nov. 17 2011
By Bob Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
I was glued to this film, and enjoyed its stunning cinemagraphy and editing. The basic vibe is of awe and cosmic humor, wonder, and goodness in spite of it all......so we see a re-enactment , brilliantly filmed , of an experience of one person's quest for enlightenment, via his adopted family of wild turkeys......and we get to know
some of them....Swee-pea, Turkey-Boy, and we care.....and it is magic....to see Joe Hutto's "children", soon grow, thrive, and eventually, outgrow their odd relationship with Joe, and ultimately, their natural wild behaviour. It is revealed towards the end, that all the communication, relationship bond, was perhaps a fortunate,or un-fortunate, temporary thing...........as the turkey dna clicks in and reminds them they ARE WILD, and the results are both sad and wonderfull, and very heartfelt......but filmed with respect and magic, for both , the wild turkeys, and their adoptive parent. This is truly a special informative, and entertaining filmed account of our universal quest for meaning, love, understanding, everything else. I think this documentary is just one of a very few about wild turkeys, and is a marvel to behold!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Changing Experience Nov. 18 2011
By Camperkat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I'd like to reiterate that this film was not a documentary but a re-creation of events that took place in the late 1990s.

The photography was so beautiful and misty, that I was puzzled about how they were able to get such incredible shots until I did research and found out how they made the film.

And as incredible a story as it is, what is also equally remarkable is that wildlife photographer Jeff Palmer--the "actor" they used to portray wildlife artist/naturalist Joe Hutto--was also given a cache of eggs, and the hatchlings imprinted on him...and the filmmakers then followed the re-created, yet real-life growth and relationship that developed with Jeff Palmer as Joe Hutto. So, you see? This was not just a one-time thing that happened to Joe Hutto...this is something that can be created again and again with turkeys--and doubtless, other animals. Proof of a strange, magical interconnectedness of all animal species.

I was so moved by this film and the obvious consciousness and sentience of the turkeys and the way they communicated not just with Jeff Palmer/Joe Hutto--but with each other and the other animals of the forest. Hearing their myriad and specific vocalizations, seeing their ability to learn and their pointed curiosity--was mind-blowing to me. Watching them puzzle over the remains of a dead turkey was like watching elephants hover their feet over bones in an elephant graveyard. I couldn't get over how, well...HUMAN they seemed.

I am not a vegetarian, but after watching this film I don't think I'm too far off from never eating turkey again. The vegetarians always say don't eat anything with a mother or a face, and after looking into the faces and eyes of the turkeys portrayed in this film, to kill and eat them to me would feel like killing and eating my beloved cats. That last remark may sound extreme, but that's how wonderful a job the filmmakers did in re-creating Joe Hutto's experience.

In spite of some sad, brief scenes, there is no real blood or scary violence, and I highly recommend this film to people of all ages, from 9 on up.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS documentary! Fascinating, beautifully filmed, not too long. Nov. 18 2011
By E. Karasik - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is sort of a real life "Fly Away Home" in which newly-hatched turkeys, rather than geese, imprint on a human, in this case a wildlife artist named Joe Hutto. Actually, one interesting thing about the baby turkeys (called poults) was that they started communicating with Joe Hutto FROM INSIDE THEIR EGGS. The film is relatively short, which I appreciated, because the excellent editing meant that each scene was truly engaging and packed with fascinating information about these phenomenally intelligent and impressive birds. As in "The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill," the bird-human bond becomes a major theme of the film and Hutto's relationships with a couple of the more human-oriented birds is as moving as anything I've seen along these lines. the scenery in this particular area is also very beautiful and the camera work captures it brilliantly. I really couldn't ask for more in a wildlife film. Anyone who watches this will surely never use the word "turkey" as a pejorative again.
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