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Monday, November 23, 2009

Wild Turkey Tales

They strut across the bare winter woodlands like swaggering, fat, little soldiers, in a wobbly line formation. This time there are seventeen of them. Cocky and grunting noisily, they bob their heads back and forth as if in beat to an Ipod tune. They are wild American turkeys. And they roam sassy and free and fearless in the quiet forest behind our home. I see them almost every day. Each bird is enormous. They spend their time foraging for food like acorns, seeds, small insects and berries. Their two scrawny legs, thin as bamboo skewers, hardly look as if they could hold up such a massive body. But their legs and feet are agile and powerful. In summer, throngs of turkeys invade our yard digging up the dirt in the garden beds hunting for bugs. They make a huge mess, tossing dirt and mulch everywhere. Their powerful web-like toes are strong enough to move large rocks in their hunt for food. Here's a little poultry tip: never get into a fight with a wild turkey. It could claw your eyes out. 

During the winter, on very still evenings under the cover of brilliant moonlight, when the fluffy white snow blankets the entire forest, magically transforming our little woods into a spectacular winter wonderland...sometimes we go out for a moonlit walk in the woods. The pure driven snow and the glow of the moon bring a radiant luminescence to the forest primevil. It was on just one of those illustrious winter nights that I spied way high in the treetops several mysterious, large, black, blob-like forms up in the branches. The dark shapes were a stark contrast to the white forest. Suddenly, one of the big, bulky shadows rose up and flew away. It was a turkey. Yes...turkeys can and do fly! It was a startling revelation for me. I had no idea that these hefty, waddling, feathery creatures can fly high and quite far. Turns out they sleep up in the tall treetops at night to keep away from predators.

Wild turkeys like the ones in our back woods, are different than domestic turkeys. The domestic turkeys don't fly. They are raised on turkey farms, bred and fattened up especially for human consumption. No wonder the wild gobblers in our little forest swagger around like plump, old dowagers. They lead a charmed and lucky existence, knowing full well they won't be the centerpiece of our holiday table this Thanksgiving Day. Sphere: Related Content


Sarah said...

i've never seen a wild turkey in real life. sounds fearsome!

Marla said...

What a great post. We have wild turkeys here also and I am always so excited when I hear them gobbling their way towards our home. Quite a sight! Thanks for another great post.

Unknown said...

Shall I tell you the story of the Red Chair in the woods: I've owned it almost 20 years. My wife was tired of it and wanted to replace it ... and she did. Kindling she suggested ... No !, I replied ... I'll put it in the woods ... and I did. During the summer I would retreat to the woods with a book ... to the Red Chair. The forest was thick ... you couldn't see. From our condo I loved to look down on the Red Chair. I am a photographer ... tried to capture the Red Chair, but I was unsuccessful ... until I moved it to a better location. Today I will edit that photo and share it on my website:

J.P. Travis said...

I used to be married to a woman who was addicted to running. You know the type. Every morning at 5 the alarm would sound and off she'd go. Drove me crazy. One day she came back early, frazzled and out of sorts. Seems some wild turkeys met her on the bike path and chased her for almost a mile, scaring the crap out of her. I've had a soft spot in my heart for wild turkeys ever since.

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