Mary's Veggie Garden

April 10, 2010

Turkeys in Action

Filed under: Wildlife — marysveggiegarden @ 1:21 pm

April 5 was a beautiful day, with blue sky, sunshine, and warmth. The local wild turkey flock, 12-15 birds, was wandering the neighborhood. The big Toms were strutting their stuff with the top Tom completely blue in the face – head, neck, and wattles. The lesser Toms were blue headed, but displaying red wattles.

A Most Magnificent Tom Turkey

Eventually the flock settled down to forage at the top of the hill next door where their barking caught our attention. Their noise sounds a lot like the yappy little dog across the street.

One hen stood out – precisely because she wasn’t standing. She was belly down on the grass – very unusual. The two Toms strutting back and forth behind her seemed completely out of her sight.

Finally action! Mr. Blue-in-the-Face jumped up on the hen’s back. With wings  and tail drooping, and while balancing precariously, he kneaded the hen’s back half with his formidable claws. That went on for several minutes while we imagined the pain. The hen just looked stoic.

Meanwhile Tom #2 stopped strutting and stood by the rock pile doing a little dance of his own – if another hen had been willing, he would have been been kneading her back. That was one frustrated bird.

Finally the turkey couple twisted their tails to opposite sides in a very awkward looking way – then seconds later, the Tom jumped to the ground and resumed strutting.  The hen got to her feet, spent a minute settling her very ruffled feathers, then started foraging.

I think we just watched the start of another 6-8 turkey chicks.

Sorry – no pictures of this bizarre scene – we didn’t want to disturb the birds by opening the door.

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