Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Taking Shelter

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Canny birds, our local wild turkeys... In winter, they forage in rural fields where the north wind has blown snow away from the corn stubble. They visit farm paddocks where grain is being set out for domestic birds, horses and livestock, and they haunt residential bird feeders from time to time. A few of us put food out for them, and it doesn't take long for flocks to get the message and make their personal smörgåsbord preferences known.

When the weather is truly miserable, wild turkeys find shelter in outlying farm buildings, resting out of the wind and blowing snow until conditions are more favorable for feeding. I should be used to it by now, but I am always surprised to discover a flock roosting in an abandoned log barn somewhere in the highlands. When I do encounter one, the birds stand their ground and stare me down, gimlet eyed.

The really neat thing is that the imperious males (or "jakes") are arrayed in every color of the rainbow when they are in full display. They put on a fine strutting show for any females (or "jennies") in the neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

Well, that could be a little "surprising" to pop in on a group that looks like this one, hehe. They do have amazing colorations.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Every now and then when driving down my country road I will see a lot of them in the fields. Several times at the edge of my garden - but - Miss Callie chased them away.
A special day is wished you....

Mystic Meandering said...

How interesting that the "natural instinct" is to "take refuge" when life and the weather becomes inclement... :) Nature is such a good mirror... Christine

Anonymous said...

I love that neck.