Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Tales

Here are two turkey (or turkel, as we call them) sightings around my house.

Turkey in the Snow

In December 2007, a big storm dropped a good foot and a half of snow. By late afternoon, the sky was clearing and two tom turkeys (all that chest hair) slogged to the bird feeder. We have several large pines in our yard which shelter the feeder. The snow wasn't as deep there and the turkeys pecked at the seeds.

The next time I looked, only one turkey was left. He turned toward the hill to climb up to the woods, stepping into snow that was up to his belly. He stopped. For several minutes, he struggled and strained against the snow, but couldn't make any progress. The light was fading, and I expected him to return along the path he and his friend had broken.

Instead, Mr. Turkey unfurled his wings (BIG wings) and flew up to a branch. Huge bird that he is, he made quite a sight, perched on that limb. As the night progressed, I looked out several times to check on him, but I couldn't see him in the darkness. I worried about him, even as I told myself turkeys are professional wild animals and can survive outside.

The next morning, I heard "Gobble, gobble, gobble," and sure enough, there he was, still sitting on that tree limb. He flapped his wings and flew down to the ground. A crust had formed on the snow overnight, so he was able to walk away, slipping and sliding and using his wings for balance.

A happy ending.

A Spring Turkey

Last May, as I sat in my front room, I heard clucking outside the open window. I jumped up to see the turkey (seeing a turkey is still a big deal) and sure enough, a hen stood on the front lawn.

She clucked again, and six tiny brown-and-yellow chicks (poults) ran out from under the rhododendron beside the house. From their small size, they must have hatched only a few days earlier.

Mama turkey clucked again and walked around the side of the house, her poults trailing in her wake. A resplendent tom, tail flaring in full courtship regalia, followed. The entire group climbed the hill behind my house and disappeared into the woods. I wonder where mama turkey built her nest. I hoped she used our woods, but I have no idea.

My husband took these two pictures from inside the house. Click on the images to see the poults better.

I never saw the poults again, but I do see the turkeys from time to time. They have no schedule, but they wander from yard to yard, climb the hill behind my house to the woods, and then climb down again, cross the street and head into the woods lower on the hill.

I'm glad we have turkels. And I hope they come around for a good many more years.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars
--4 stars from Romantic Times, 2010 EPIC EBook Competition finalist, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
--Regency Halloween comedy available from The Wild Rose Press
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Lindsay Townsend said...

Those poults are adorable. I do hope they survived. I'm so thrilled for you with your wild turkeys.
Thank you so much for sharing these very special birds.

Turkeyknapper, perhaps, as your next title?

Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--Love your "turkels." I've never heard that term. We, too have wild turkeys here in Central Texas. Toward the back of our big wild housing area, a flock of turkeys do as you described--move from place to place. They are territorial, as are deer, so we see the same deer come and go on our place, a once in a while the turkeys come to visit, too. Happy Thanksgiving--since we'll be alone this holiday, my dh and I will go to a movie--Blind Side--and stop by Johnny Carino's for a big plate of Italian nachos! Celia

LK Hunsaker said...

Linda, great turkey stories and photos! We seem to have an influx this year since I've had to nearly stop in the road to keep from hitting a bunch of them! I do wish they'd stay in yards and woods instead. ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Aren't they gorgeous, Linda? Thanks so much for sharing your story and pictures! I love to watch the wild birds, but I never saw anything quite like these, so I really enjoyed this!
A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, have a wonderful day. :)

Jane x

Linda Banche said...

Hi Lindsay, you're welcome. As for Turkeynapper, turkeys probably weren't raised in Regency England, but who knows? Birds have been blown across the Atlantic to England.

Hi Celia. "Turkel" is a word I made up to describe our wild turkeys, to distinguish them from the ones that will adorn our table on Thanksgiving. Take a look at my previous post.

LK, I've had to stop to let the turkeys cross the road, too. I'm terrified whenever I see them in the road in case a fast car comes by.

Hi Jane, thanks. Turkeys are native to North America, so unless a zoo or farm imported them, you're not likely to see them in England.

Mary Ricksen said...

I'll bet they are glad you buy your turkeys at the store.
Very cool that the little turkel family stays together. I had no idea.

Here in Florida we have wild peacocks, they are beautiful, but some people consider them pesky. The poor birds are usually left behind when a family moves. Near my friends rural home they wander the streets. Who could leave a poor animal of any kind behind?

At least the turkeys are native to where you live.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Mary. Oh, those poor peacocks. I love birds, and hate to see any mistreated. Unfortunately, some people don't care how they treat their pets.

Savanna Kougar said...

Oh, Linda, I've never seen the wild baby turkels... what a sight!

I have seen wild turkeys fly a couple of time. The whole flock, about seven of them, was crossing my gravel road... They were moving fast. I think they were being chased by another animal. Maybe a coyote. But I didn't see anything except several of them flying, once they were clear of the road.

MAGGI said...

What a lovely place to live, Linda! My brother has wild turkeys on his property in Queensland.
We have many wild ducks and bird life here in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Savanna, I'm just sorry the pictures my husband took didn't come out very well. The stock photo from Wikipedia is a good likeness of the baby turkels. If you have turkeys, sooner or later you will probably see the babies.

I hope your turkeys are OK.

Hi Maggi, I had no idea turkeys had been introduced to Australia. You probably saw them before I did, and they're native here.

Bekki Lynn said...

Wonderful stories, Linda.

I would have worried about the turkey in the tree, too. I would have been up and down and out with the flashlight several times during the night. I'm known for it. lol