Monday, March 07, 2011

The Rafter of Turkeys

The local rafter of Turkeys that made it through the worst of winter visited me last week.    Their Fall membership of over 20 birds had shrunk and there were no wee ones scooting here or there.  All presented adult plummage and size.   It was a tough winter and I was pleased to see the 10 or so birds strutting on top of the hard 2 foot snow pack in the yard.

They went through instinctual motions probably engrained by millions of years of evolution and pecked repeatedly as if there was something to eat on the snow.  Or maybe they were just nervous tic's resulting from them being so out in the open.  All the while their one eye facing me bore into me hard.

Wild Turkeys, like most birds, have fantastic eyesight.  Usually if they sense any movement inside the house they scatter instantly.  This day, they sensed me but only moved quickly to another spot in the yard.  It seemed they were waiting for me to get my camera.  I did and when I put it against the window, a couple of the bigger ones moved closer.  "Yeah, look at us.  We made it.  We're the badasses, yeah that's right.  We cool."

They paraded around for several minutes and then as if on cue, all took flight and were gone.

One more sign Mud Season is almost upon us.  Spring is just around the corner.

17 comments:

Kulkuri said...

Nice pics. There are some wild turkeys UP on the Tundra. I think there is even a hunting season in the Southern part of UP.

MRMacrum said...

Kulkiri - Turkeys are hunted state wide here. Spring and Fall seasons.

robin andrea said...

Don't you love when the birds hang around long enough for you to get the camera, and then pose? Such accommodation. Glad to see you have such a fine flock.

Murr Brewster said...

Ah, Maine--winter, mud season, black fly season, mosquito season. I love it!

squatlo said...

Very cool! We're covered up with wild turkey here in middle Tennessee, and they can be found just about any day of the week in the fields around the edge of the woods along our highways.
Nice to have them up close for you, though!

The Blog Fodder said...

Were they ever an endangered species? Sounds like they have made a comeback, humankind not withstanding. Great photos.

okjimm said...

rafter of Turkeys? I thought you were talking about the GOP for awhile!

Tom Harper said...

Nice pictures. It must be nice to have that superior eyesight that most, or all, birds have. I once read that a Bald Eagle can read a newspaper from 100 yards away. You know, if they could read.

Chef Cthulhu said...

Great pics. Betcha' if you'd gone and got a box of Stovetop and a can of gravy those fuckers woulda' run like Hell, though.

Beach Bum said...

They went through instinctual motions probably engrained by millions of years of evolution and pecked repeatedly as if there was something to eat on the snow.

What Jim said, because that does sound like republicans to me.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

they are beautiful..but all I could think was, gravy, cranberry's, taters and .....roast turkey.

susan said...

I guess if there are so many in general perhaps it shouldn't concern me that there were no baby turks this year.. or did they just leave them with the other 10 who were home sitting on the nests?

MRMacrum said...

robin andrea - Yes I do. I just wish I had the knack/patience you seem to have to capture the images you post on a regular basis. My favorite is still the header you had once with the piper in the sand. Loved that one.

Murr Brewster - I started a petition awhile back to rename the black fly the Maine State Bird. It didn't get very far. I think I got 3 signatures and one was thrown out. Apparently paw prints don't count.

squatlo - Yeah, they are very thick here also, stopping traffic all the time. It's odd though, 30 years ago, they were very rare. They were re-introduced and in 20 years now I hear people complain about them.

Blog Fodder - for the most part, they had disappeared from Maine back in the 1970s. They were brought back by hunters and released in the early 1980s I think. Now with a defined season and special hunting stamp, their numbers seem to be remain strong throughout the year.

okjimm - I wondered if anyone would consider it a title about our illustrious leadership. As it turns out, the term "rafter" is one of two correct ways to label a group of turkeys, the other being "cream". Rafter seems to fit the best for me as I once spotted a flock asleep in the pines across the road. They were lined up along the pine boughs about 20 feet up. My flashlight freaked them out. When they scattered, it freaked me out.

Tom Harper - Thanks. Ever watch a robin in the yard? They cock their head sideways? They can see the ground movement of a worm moving underneath them.

Chef Cthulhu - They would, but the fenced in variety wouldn't. Nothing dumber than a domesticated turkey.

Beach Bum - In my mind it more accurately portrays politicians in general.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY - If you are ever lucky enough to actually have a wild turkey for a meal, you will be impressed. My hunting friends tell me they are some of the hardest game to hunt.

MRMacrum said...

susan - you snuck in while I was typing my replies to the others.

The youngsters gain their adult size and plummage over the winters. Last summer (I assume this is the same local rafter)there were maybe 6 adults and too many wee ones to count. Over the summer I watched the little guys grow and their numbers decrease until the last sighting in I think October. I counted the same number of adults and maybe 12 or so half grown younguns. That means that the flock did not lose many over this winter from the last time I saw them. It amazes me they are able to find food with 3 feet of snow on top of everything.

The flocks break up in the spring with the males heading off to find new females to mate with.

Mauigirl said...

Ah yes, mud season should be coming to the Adirondacks soon as well, if it hasn't already. We are chomping (or is it champing?) at the bit to get back up to our cabin and see our own wild turkeys. Great pictures!

susan said...

I didn't know that. Thanks :-) Have you ever seen video of male emperor penguins holding the family egg on top of their feet all through the antarctic winter?

MRMacrum said...

susan - Yes I saw that one popular movie about the emperor penquins. I was astounded they not only incubate the eggs while mom is away, they don't eat while they are doing it.