Turkey Trot Practice

Wildlife surrounds us: deer, coyotes, turkeys, snakes, racoons, squirrels, hawks, birds, armadillos and foxes among others. Even the rare mountain lion.

Wild turkeys are particularly delightful. A few years ago on an evening when we were entertaining a card group, some 18 to 20 turkeys perched on our fence looking like gigantic ungainly vultures. Unfortunately I’ve misplaced that picture. It was quite a sight.

Several years ago, I watched a fascinating documentary on PBS by Joe Hutto: “My Life as a Turkey.” He raised a flock of turkeys from eggs as if he was their mother. The video might also be found on YouTube. It’s well worth watching.

Turkeys can be dangerous. Males have irritable dispositions and deadly spurs, on the backs of their legs, and upon occasion have been known to kill humans. When Flash and I walk in the early mornings, we sometimes encounter the flock and have to wait for them to cross the road in front of us. Sometimes we have to fix them with strobe or flashlights to get them to move on. Sometimes nothing works, and a lot of waiting around or a detour is involved. Lately, in a nearby neighborhood, two adult turkeys have been terrorizing walkers.

This past winter, the flock was quite large, numbering more than 50 birds. As summer progresses, the numbers have already begun to dwindle due to coyote and other predations.

One cold overcast morning, four of the male turkeys put on a magnificent display hoping to lure the dowdier females into mating with them. As you can see, they had practiced their moves and didn’t miss a step.

And a one and a two…